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Muscle Function, Body Composition, Insulin Sensitivity and Physical Activity in Adolescents Born Preterm: Impact of Gestation and Vitamin D Status

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Claire Wood, Dr Robert Tinnion, Dr Kieren Hollingsworth, Professor Mike TrenellORCiD, Professor Mark PearceORCiD, Professor Timothy Cheetham, Professor Nicholas EmbletonORCiD



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


© 2022 by the authors.Whilst several studies have explored adolescent metabolic and cognitive function after preterm birth, few have explored muscle function and physical activity. We set out to examine the relationship between gestational age and muscle metabolism in a cohort of adolescents who were born preterm. Participants were recruited from the Newcastle preterm birth growth study cohort. They did not have severe neurological disease and were not on daily medication. Participants underwent an assessment of oxidative muscle function using phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy that included the half-time for recovery of equilibrium of phosphocreatine, τ½PCr. In addition, we measured key variables that might affect muscle function including physical activity levels determined by 3-day accelerometry, body composition using air displacement plethysmography, insulin sensitivity using the homeostatic model assessment/Matsuda index and serum vitamin D concentrations. 60 adolescents (35F) median age 15.6 years (range 12.1–18.8) with a median gestation of 31 weeks (range 24 to 34 weeks) underwent a single assessment. Males were more active and spent less time in sedentary mode. Time spent in light activity was associated with insulin sensitivity (IS) (Matsuda Index; p < 0.05) but there were no strong correlations between activity levels and gestational age. Greater fat mass, waist circumference and body mass index were all associated with lower IS. Gestational age was negatively associated with adjusted measures of oxidative muscle function (τ½PCr). In a stepwise multivariate linear regression model, gestational age at birth was the most significant predictor of oxidative muscle function (p = 0.005). Higher serum vitamin D levels were also associated with faster phosphocreatine recovery time (p = 0.045). Oxidative function in the skeletal muscle of adolescents born preterm is associated with gestational age and vitamin D concentrations. Our study suggests that being born preterm may have a long-term impact on muscle metabolism.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wood CL, Tinnion R, Hollingsworth KG, Trenell MI, Pearce MS, Cheetham TD, Embleton ND

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nutrients

Year: 2022

Volume: 14

Issue: 23

Online publication date: 27/11/2022

Acceptance date: 16/11/2022

Date deposited: 19/12/2022

ISSN (print): elec-tronic

Publisher: MDPI


DOI: 10.3390/nu14235045


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