Cell Stress and Chaperones

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 349–359

Plasma heat shock protein 72 as a biomarker of sarcopenia in elderly people


    • Research Team for Social Participation and Health PromotionTokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology
  • Hun-kyung Kim
    • Research Team for Promoting Independence of the ElderlyTokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology
  • Takahiko Shimizu
    • Research Team for Molecular GerontologyTokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology
  • Sigeaki Abe
    • Department of Physical Education, Faculty of Sport ScienceNippon Sport Science University
  • Yumi Shiga
    • Department of Nursing, Faculty of NursingMusashino University
  • Stuart K. Calderwood
    • Department of Radiation OncologyHarvard Medical School
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s12192-011-0310-6

Cite this article as:
Ogawa, K., Kim, H., Shimizu, T. et al. Cell Stress and Chaperones (2012) 17: 349. doi:10.1007/s12192-011-0310-6


Sarcopenia is a geriatric syndrome in which there is a decrease of muscle mass and strength with aging. In age-related loss of muscle strength, there are numerous observations supporting the assertion that neural factors mediate muscle strength. A possible contributing cause may be that aging changes systemic extracellular heat shock protein (eHsp)72 activity. The present study was designed to assess the plasma levels of eHsp72 in elderly people and to investigate its potential interaction with components of sarcopenia. A total of 665 men and women participated in an official medical health examination and an integrated health examination, including psychological and physical fitness tests. Blood samples were assayed for levels of plasma Hsp72, serum C-reactive protein, interleukin 6, tumor necrosis factor α, and regular biomedical parameters. We found that higher Hsp72 in plasma is associated with lower muscle mass, weaker grip strength, and slower walking speed, and may be a potential biomarker of sarcopenia in elderly people. This finding was supported by other results in the present study: (1) older age and shrinking body and lower hemoglobin levels, all of which characterize sarcopenia, were related to higher eHsp72 tertiles and (2) the ORs of the highest tertile of eHsp72 for the lowest tertiles of muscle mass, grip strength, and walking speed were 2.7, 2.6, and 1.8, respectively. These ORs were independent of age, sex, and the incidence of related diseases. Our results would reveal that eHsp72 in plasma is linked to sarcopenia factors and is a potential biomarker or predictor of sarcopenia.


SarcopeniaGeriatric syndromeBiomarkersExtracellular HspSkeletal muscleGrip strength

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© Cell Stress Society International 2011