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Am J Med. 2006 Jun;119(6):526.e9-17.

Inflammatory markers and loss of muscle mass (sarcopenia) and strength.

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Institute for Research in Extramural Medicine (EMGO Institute), VU University Medical Center, The Netherlands.



The objective of this study was to investigate whether high levels of serum interleukin (IL)-6, C-reactive protein (CRP), and alpha1-antichymotrypsin (ACT) were associated with the loss of muscle strength or muscle mass (sarcopenia) in older persons.


The study included 986 men and women of the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam, with a mean age of 74.6 years (standard deviation 6.2).


Grip strength (n = 986) and appendicular muscle mass (n = 328, using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) were obtained in 1995 and 1996 and repeated after a 3-year follow-up. Loss of muscle strength was defined as a loss of grip strength greater than 40%, and sarcopenia was defined as a loss of muscle mass greater than 3%, approximating the lowest 15% of the study sample.


Multiple linear and logistic regression analyses revealed that higher levels of IL-6 were associated with greater decline in muscle strength, which decreased by -3.21 kg (standard error 0.81) per standard deviation increase in log-transformed IL-6. After adjustment for confounders, including sociodemographic, health, and lifestyle factors, high IL-6 (>5 pg/mL) and high CRP (>6.1 mug/mL) were associated with a 2 to 3-fold greater risk of losing greater than 40% of muscle strength. Persons with high levels of ACT (>181% of the normal human pooled plasma) were 40% less likely to experience loss of muscle strength and tended (P = .07) to have a smaller decline in muscle mass compared with those in the lowest quartile of ACT. No consistent associations of IL-6 and CRP with sarcopenia were found.


The findings of this prospective, population-based study suggest that higher levels of IL-6 and CRP increase the risk of muscle strength loss, whereas higher levels of ACT decrease the risk of muscle strength loss in older men and women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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