Research Article| Volume 212, ISSUE 1, P327-332, September 2010

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Arterial stiffness is associated with low thigh muscle mass in middle-aged to elderly men



      Sarcopenia of legs is an important cause of physical dysfunctions, frailty and dependence. Many predisposing and underlying mechanisms of sarcopenia, including age, sedentary life style, oxidative stress, insulin resistance, and low testosterone levels, are also known to be related to atherosclerosis, which is another leading cause of morbidity and mortality in elderly subjects. In this study, we investigated our hypothesis that sarcopenia and atherosclerosis are associated with each other to facilitate mutual abnormalities.


      Study was performed in apparently healthy 496 middle-aged to elderly persons recruited consecutively among the visitors to the medical check-up program, Anti-Aging Doc, in a University hospital, from March 2006 to December 2007. Mid-thigh muscle cross-sectional area (CSA) was measured by computed tomography and corrected by body weight (CSA/BW). Carotid intima–media thickness (IMT) and brachial–ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV) were measured.


      Thigh muscle CSA/BW was significantly and negatively associated with carotid IMT and baPWV in men but not in women. After correction for other confounding parameters, baPWV was an independent risk for the presence of sarcopenia in men (odds ratio of 1 m/s increase of baPWV = 1.14, 95% CI = 1.01–1.30, p < 0.05) in addition to age, body height, low physical activity, free testosterone level. Conversely, thigh muscle CSA/BW was an independent determinant of baPWV (β = −0.15, p < 0.01) in addition to age, blood pressure, triglyceride, and antihypertensive drug use in men.


      Arterial stiffness is related to thigh muscle volume in men. Sarcopenia and atherosclerosis may share a common pathway and interact with each other to facilitate mutual abnormalities.


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