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Maturitas. 2017 Feb;96:10-15. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2016.11.006. Epub 2016 Nov 13.

Inflammation and sarcopenia: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

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Department of Medicine, Geriatrics Section, University of Padova, Italy.
Department of Neurosciences, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.
Department of Pathology and Diagnostics, University and Hospital Trust of Verona, Verona, Italy.
Physiotherapy Department, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8 AZ, United Kingdom; Health Service and Population Research Department, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, De Crespigny Park, Box SE5 8 AF London, United Kingdom; Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, Anglia Ruskin University, Bishop Hall Lane, Chelmsford CM1 1SQ, United Kingdom.
Department of Medicine, Geriatrics Section, University of Padova, Italy; National Research Council, Aging Branch, Institute of Neuroscience, Padova, Italy.
Department of Medicine, Geriatrics Section, University of Padova, Italy. Electronic address:


Inflammatory cytokines have been shown to prompt muscle wasting, ultimately stimulating protein catabolism and suppressing muscle synthesis. However, the possible association between inflammatory parameters and sarcopenia is poorly understood. We therefore aimed to summarize the current evidence about this topic with a meta-analysis of studies reporting serum inflammatory parameters in patients with sarcopenia vs. people without sarcopenia (controls). An electronic PubMed and Scopus search through to 09/01/2016 and meta-analysis of cross-sectional studies comparing serum levels of inflammatory cytokines between patients with sarcopenia and controls was made, calculating random-effects standardized mean differences (SMDs) ±95% confidence intervals (CIs) as the effect size. Out of 1370 initial hits, 17 studies with a total of 11249 participants (3072 with sarcopenia and 8177 without) were meta-analyzed. Sarcopenic participants had significantly higher levels of CRP (SMD=0.51; 95%CI 0.26, 0.77; p<0.0001; I2=96%) than controls. Conversely, serum IL6 levels were not significantly different (SMD=0.35; 95%CI: -0.19, 0.89; p=0.21; I2=97%) in people with sarcopenia versus controls. Sarcopenic people did not have higher levels of TNF-α than controls (SMD=0.28; 95%CI -0.26, 0.83; p=0.31; I2=97%). In conclusion, sarcopenia seems to be associated with elevated serum CRP levels; future longitudinal studies are needed to clarify this relationship.


C reactive protein; Inflammation; Meta-analysis; Sarcopenia

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