Muscle wasting and chronic inflammation are predominant features of patients with COPD. Systemic inflammation is associated with an accelerated decline in lung function. In this study, the prevalence of sarcopenia and the relationships between sarcopenia and systemic inflammations in patients with stable COPD were investigated.
In a cross-sectional design, muscle strength and muscle mass were measured by handgrip strength (HGS) and bioelectrical impedance analysis in 80 patients with stable COPD. Patients (≥40 years old) diagnosed with COPD were recruited from outpatient clinics, and then COPD stages were classified. Sarcopenia was defined as the presence of both low muscle strength (by HGS) and low muscle mass (skeletal muscle mass index [SMMI]). Levels of circulating inflammatory biomarkers (IL-6 and high-sensitivity TNFα [hsTNFα]) were measured.
Sarcopenia was prevalent in 20 (25%) patients. Patients with sarcopenia were older, had lower body mass index, and a higher percentage of cardiovascular diseases. In addition, they had significantly higher modified Medical Research Council scores and lower 6-minute walk distance than those without sarcopenia. HGS was significantly correlated with age, modified Medical Research Council score, and COPD Assessment Test scores. Both HGS and SMMI had associations with IL-6 and hsTNFα (HGS, r=−0.35, P=0.002; SMMI, r=−0.246, P=0.044) level. In multivariate analysis, old age, lower body mass index, presence of cardiovascular comorbidities, and higher hsTNFα levels were significant determinants for sarcopenia in patients with stable COPD.