Sixteen weeks of resistance training decrease plasma heat shock protein 72 (eHSP72) and increase muscle mass without affecting high sensitivity inflammatory markers’ levels in sarcopenic men



Sarcopenia has been associated with increased systemic inflammation and risk of physical disability in older adults. Recently, extracellular heat shock protein 72 (eHSP72) was proposed as a biomarker of sarcopenia but its response to interventions designed to increase muscle mass has never been evaluated.


The present study was designed to (1) assess eHSP72 levels following resistance training and, (2) determine whether changes in eHSP72 correlate to changes in muscle mass and inflammatory markers.


A total of 26 sarcopenic men participated in a 16-week resistance training program. The following variables were measured pre–post-intervention: plasma HSP72, serum high sensitivity (hs) inflammatory markers: interleukin-6 (hsIL-6), C-reactive protein (hsCRP), and tumor necrosis factor alpha (hsTNF-α), lean body mass (LBM) and appendicular muscle mass index (appMMI).


eHSP72 was detected in 47 % of our participants and its level significantly decreased (P = 0.04) after the intervention, with a concomitant increase in several LBM variables and appMMI (all P < 0.035). Serum hsIL-6, hsCRP and hsTNF-α changes did not reach significance. Baseline hsIL-6 and hsCRP levels were negatively correlated with several LBM variables but solely baseline hsIL-6 was associated with changes in appLBM. No correlations were found between changes in measured variables.


Attenuation of eHSP72 following resistance training in parallel with increase in LBM variables showed a concordance between the evolution of this biomarker and a clinical outcome relevant to sarcopenia.


Nevertheless, the low bloodstream detection rate of eHSP72 in a sarcopenic otherwise healthy population might limit its use in clinical settings for now.

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The authors would like to thank Martine Fisch, Christine Rioux-Perreault, Johann Lebon, Daniel Mireault, Joanie Lévesque and all kinesiologists supervising the exercise training protocol for their professional assistance. We are also grateful to all men who participated in this study. The Dairy Farmers of Canada supported this study financially. Karine Perreault detains a master degree scholarship from the Centre de recherche sur le vieillissement du CSSS-IUGS. Isabelle J. Dionne holds a Canada Research Chair in Exercise recommendations in healthy aging.

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Correspondence to Isabelle J. Dionne.

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On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights

All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Research Ethics Committee of the CSSS-IUGS and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Informed consent

All participants signed a written informed consent during the first visit to the Research Centre on Aging (Geriatric Institute of the University of Sherbrooke, CSSS-IUGS, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada).

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Perreault, K., Courchesne-Loyer, A., Fortier, M. et al. Sixteen weeks of resistance training decrease plasma heat shock protein 72 (eHSP72) and increase muscle mass without affecting high sensitivity inflammatory markers’ levels in sarcopenic men. Aging Clin Exp Res 28, 207–214 (2016).

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  • Heat shock protein (HSP)
  • Resistance training
  • Systemic inflammation
  • Muscle mass
  • Sarcopenia
  • Elderly men