Loss of muscle mass and strength (i.e., sarcopenia) in the older adults is a strong predictor of falls, with subsequent morbidity and inability to execute activities of daily living. Use of biomarkers may enhance assessment of effects of community-based exercise interventions aimed at improving muscle strength.
The aim of this study was to investigate the use of troponin as a newly proposed biomarker of skeletal muscle health when determining the outcomes of strength-training programs designed for community-dwelling adults over the age of 65 years.
Outcomes of two strength training programs (“Peer Exercise Program Promotes Independence” and “Stay Strong, Stay Healthy”) were assessed using physical performance tests designed for senior fitness evaluation, grip strength, and changes in serum levels of skeletal muscle-specific troponin T (sTnT).
Improvement in physical performance, including a significant increase in grip strength, was associated with a significant reduction in serum levels of sTnT.
Findings from these studies suggest that, when “Peer Exercise Program Promotes Independence” and “Stay Strong, Stay Healthy” are implemented for at least 10 weeks, significant gains in strength are achieved. This strength improvement was associated with a reduction in serum levels of troponin, supporting the use of troponin as a novel biomarker of muscle health in the assessment of strength training programs for the older adults. Reduced sTnT after exercise intervention suggests that skeletal muscles become stronger and less susceptible to damage because of the exercise regimens.
Eduardo L. Abreu, MD, DEng, is Assistant Professor, Muscle Biology Research Group, School of Nursing and Health Studies, University of Missouri-Kansas City.
An-Lin Cheng, PhD, is Associate Professor; Patricia J. Kelly, PhD, is Professor; and Keyna Chertoff, MS, is Senior Research Associate, School of Nursing and Health Studies, University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Leticia Brotto, MD, is Research Associate & Laboratory Manager, Muscle Biology Research Group, School of Nursing and Health Studies, University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Elizabeth Griffith, BS, is Adult/Older Adult Program Manager, Clay County Public Health Center, Liberty, MO.
Glenda Kinder, FNP, is Nutrition & Health Education Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, St. Louis.
Tina Uridge, MS, is Executive Director, Clay County Senior Services, Gladstone, MO.
Rob Zachow, PhD, is Associate Professor, Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, NJ.
Marco Brotto, BSN, MS, PhD, is Dale and Dorothy Thompson Missouri Endowed Professor of Nursing Research, Director Muscle Biology Research Group, School of Nursing and Health Studies and School of Medicine, University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Accepted for publication November 1, 2013.
The authors acknowledge that the work was supported by a grant from the Clay County Senior Services, Clay County, Missouri, to M.B., P.K., and E.A.
The authors have no conflicts of interest to report.
Corresponding author: Marco Brotto, BSN, MS, PhD, School of Nursing and Health Studies, and School of Medicine, University of Missouri-Kansas City, 2464 Charlotte St, Kansas City, MO 64108 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).