, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 469–478 | Cite as

Pulse wave velocity is associated with muscle mass decline: Health ABC study

  • Angela Marie Abbatecola
  • Paolo Chiodini
  • Ciro Gallo
  • Edward Lakatta
  • Kim Sutton-Tyrrell
  • Frances A. Tylavsky
  • Bret Goodpaster
  • Natalie de Rekeneire
  • Ann V. Schwartz
  • Giuseppe PaolissoEmail author
  • Tamara Harris
  • for the Health ABC study


Age-related mechanisms that lead to sarcopenia are not entirely understood. Basal leg blood flow declines with aging by augmented sympathetic vasoconstriction and arterial stiffening, thus a dysfunction in blood vessel dynamics may have an independent role on sarcopenia. We determined whether pulse wave velocity (PWV), marker of arterial stiffness, was associated with skeletal muscle decline. Observational cohort study of older adults(70–79 years) living in Pittsburgh, PA, USA or Memphis, TN, USA. Analyses included 2,405 participants. Correlations among muscle parameters including skeletal muscle density and intermuscular adipose tissue using mid-thigh CT scans were assessed. Linear mixed models tested the association between the change in the sarcopenic index (SI) (assessed by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) over time and baseline PWV independently of multiple confounders. SI was defined: appendicular lean mass/squared height and calculated at every follow-up (n = 6). Baseline PWV was significantly higher in black women compared to white women (930 ± 431 vs. 843 ± 366; p = 0.0001), while there were no significant differences between black and white men (943 ± 402 vs. 911 ± 375; p = 0.1786). Baseline analyses showed an independent negative association between PWV and muscle parameters after adjusting for confounders in both genders. The PWV-by-race interaction was significant in women and analyses are reported separately by race. Prospective mixed models showed that PWV was an independent determinant of the SI in all men (β = −0.1043; p = 0.0065) and in white women (β = −0.1091; p = 0.0192). In analyses examining the effect of arterial stiffness on limb lean mass over time, PWV correlated with lower leg (β = −0.2196; p = 0.0002)and arm mass (β = −0.0985; p = 0.0011) in all men and lower leg mass(β = −0.1608; p = 0.0027)in white women. In older persons, arterial stiffening is associated with skeletal muscle mass decline differently for race and gender.


Aging Sarcopenia Pulse wave velocity Vascular stiffness 



Study concept and design: Abbatecola, Paolisso, Harris.Had full access to all of the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis: Abbatecola, Chiodini, Gallo, Paolisso, Harris Drafting of the manuscript: Abbatecola, Chiodini Statistical analysis: Abbatecola, Chiodini, Gallo Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: Gallo, Paolisso, Harris, Lakatta, Sutton-Tyrrell, Tylavsky, Goodpaster, Schwartz, de Rekeneire Study supervision: Harris

This study was by the following contracts: National Institute on Aging at the National Institute of Health with the following contract numbers: N01-AG-6-2101; N01-AG-6-2103; N01-AG-6-2106. This research was supported in part by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute of Health, National Institute on Aging


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Copyright information

© American Aging Association 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angela Marie Abbatecola
    • 1
  • Paolo Chiodini
    • 2
  • Ciro Gallo
    • 2
  • Edward Lakatta
    • 3
  • Kim Sutton-Tyrrell
    • 4
  • Frances A. Tylavsky
    • 5
  • Bret Goodpaster
    • 6
    • 7
  • Natalie de Rekeneire
    • 8
  • Ann V. Schwartz
    • 9
  • Giuseppe Paolisso
    • 10
    Email author
  • Tamara Harris
    • 11
  • for the Health ABC study
  1. 1.Italian National Research Center on Aging (I.N.R.C.A.)AnconaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Medicine and Public HealthSecond University of NaplesNaplesItaly
  3. 3.Laboratory of Cardiovascular Science, Intramural Research ProgramNational Institute on AgingBaltimoreUSA
  4. 4.Department of Epidemiology Graduate School of Public Health University of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  5. 5.Preventive MedicineUniversity of Tennessee Health Science CenterMemphisUSA
  6. 6.Department of EpidemiologyUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  7. 7.Department of MedicineUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  8. 8.Center on Disability and Disabling DisordersYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  9. 9.Department of Epidemiology and BiostatisticsUniversity of California San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  10. 10.Department of Geriatric Medicine and Metabolic DiseasesSecond University of NaplesNaplesItaly
  11. 11.Laboratory for Epidemiology, Demography and Biometry, Intramural Research ProgramNational Institute on AgingBethesdaUSA

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