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Advancing our understanding of skeletal muscle across the lifecourse: Protocol for the MASS_Lifecourse study and characteristics of the first 80 participants

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Richard DoddsORCiD, Dr Christopher HurstORCiD, Susan HillmanORCiD, Dr Kristen Davies, Dr Lewis Roberts, Dr Terry AsprayORCiD, Dr Antoneta Granic, Professor Avan SayerORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2022 The Authors. Introduction: Sarcopenia, the age-related loss of skeletal muscle strength and mass, carries a significant burden for affected individuals. There has been little investigation of sarcopenia using experimental medicine techniques to study human muscle tissue in detail. The aim of the Muscle Ageing Sarcopenia Studies Lifecourse (MASS_Lifecourse) study is to recruit up to 160 participants, equally divided between females and males between ages 45 and 85 years for detailed phenotyping of skeletal muscle health. Here we describe the protocol for the study and the characteristics of the first 80 participants. Methods: We are recruiting participants from three sources in the north-east of England. Study fieldwork comprises a home visit (or videocall) for consent and assessment of health, cognition, lifestyle, and wellbeing. This is followed by a visit to a clinical research facility for assessment of sarcopenia status and collection of samples including a vastus lateralis muscle biopsy. We produced descriptive statistics for the first 80 participants, including expressing their grip strength relative to normative data in the form of Z-scores. Results: The first 80 participants (53.8 % female) covered the target ages, ranging from 48 to 84 years. They were regularly physically active, reported good physical function and had a prevalence of sarcopenia (including probable sarcopenia) of 11.3 % based on the revised European consensus. Their grip strength was similar to that in the general population, with a mean Z-score of 0.09 standard deviations (95 % CI: −1.64, 1.83) above that expected. Conclusions: The MASS_Lifecourse study combines comprehensive health and lifestyle data with a range of biological samples including skeletal muscle. The findings from planned analyses should contribute to improvements in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of sarcopenia.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dodds RM, Hurst C, Hillman SJ, Davies K, Roberts L, Aspray TJ, Granic A, Sayer AA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Experimental Gerontology

Year: 2022

Volume: 166

Print publication date: 01/09/2022

Online publication date: 01/07/2022

Acceptance date: 28/06/2022

Date deposited: 29/07/2022

ISSN (print): 0531-5565

ISSN (electronic): 1873-6815

Publisher: Elsevier Inc.


DOI: 10.1016/j.exger.2022.111884

PubMed id: 35788023


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