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Am J Clin Nutr. 1990 Aug;52(2):214-8.

Appendicular skeletal muscle mass: measurement by dual-photon absorptiometry.

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Department of Medicine, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY.


Dual-photon absorptiometry (DPA) allows separation of body mass into bone mineral, fat, and fat-free soft tissue. This report evaluates the potential of DPA to isolate appendages of human subjects and to quantify extremity skeletal muscle mass (limb fat-free soft tissue). The method was evaluated in 34 healthy adults who underwent DPA study, anthropometry of the limbs, and estimation of whole-body skeletal muscle by models based on total body potassium (TBK) and nitrogen (TBN) and on fat-free body mass (FFM). DPA appendicular skeletal muscle (22.0 +/- 3.1 kg, mean +/- SD) represented 38.7% of FFM, with similar proportions in males and females. There were strong correlations (all p less than 0.001) between limb muscle mass estimated by DPA and anthropometric limb muscle areas (r = 0.82-0.92), TBK (r = 0.94), and total-body muscle mass based on TBK-FFM (r = 0.82) and TBK-TBN (r = 0.82) models. Appendicular skeletal muscle mass estimated by DPA is thus a potentially practical and accurate method of quantifying human skeletal muscle mass in vivo.

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