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Oxford University Press, The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 3(78), p. 527-534, 2022

DOI: 10.1093/gerona/glac124



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Thigh and Calf Myosteatosis are Strongly Associated with Muscle and Physical Function in African Caribbean Men

This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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Abstract Background African Caribbeans have higher levels of myosteatosis than other populations; however, little is known about the impact of myosteatosis on physical function in African Caribbeans. Herein, we examined the association between regional myosteatosis of the calf, thigh, and abdomen versus physical function in 850 African-Ancestry men aged 64.2 ± 8.9 (range 50–95) living on the Caribbean Island of Tobago. Methods Myosteatosis was measured using computed tomography and included intermuscular adipose tissue (IMAT) and muscle density levels of the thigh, calf, psoas, and paraspinous muscles. Outcomes included grip strength, time to complete 5 chair-rises, and 4-meter gait speed. Associations were quantified using separate linear models for each myosteatosis depot and were adjusted for age, height, demographics, physical activity, and chronic diseases. Beta coefficients were presented per standard deviation of each myosteatosis depot. Results Higher thigh IMAT was the only IMAT depot significantly associated with weaker grip strength (β = −1.3 ± 0.43 kg, p = .003). However, lower muscle density of all 4 muscle groups was associated with weaker grip strength (all p < .05). Calf and thigh myosteatosis (IMAT and muscle density) were significantly associated with both worse chair rise time and gait speed (all p < .05), whereas psoas IMAT and paraspinous muscle density were associated with gait speed. Conclusion Myosteatosis of the calf and thigh―but not the abdomen―were strongly associated with grip strength and performance measures of physical function in African Caribbean men. However, posterior abdominal myosteatosis may have some utility when abdominal images are all that are available.