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Serum GDF15 Level Is Independent of Sarcopenia in Older Asian Adults

Background: Growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15), induced by tissue inflammation and mitochondrial stress, has received significant attention as a biomarker of mitochondrial dysfunction and has been implicated in various age-related diseases. However, the association between circulating GDF15 and sarcopenia-associated outcomes in older adults remains to be established. Aim: To validate previous experimental data and to investigate the possible role of GDF15 in aging and muscle physiology in humans, this study examined serum GDF15 levels in relation to sarcopenia-related parameters in a cohort of older Asian adults. Methods: Muscle mass and muscle function-related parameters, such as grip strength, gait speed, chair stands, and short physical performance battery score were evaluated by experienced nurses in 125 geriatric participants with or without sarcopenia. Sarcopenia was diagnosed using the Asian-specific cutoff points. Serum GDF15 levels were measured using an enzyme immunoassay kit. Results: Serum GDF15 levels were not significantly different according to sarcopenia status, muscle mass, muscle strength, and physical performance and were not associated with the skeletal muscle index, grip strength, gait speed, time to complete 5 chair stands, and short physical performance battery score, regardless of adjustments for sex, age, and BMI. Conclusions: These findings indicate that the definite role of GDF15 on muscle metabolism observed in animal models might not be evident in humans and that elevated GDF15 levels might not predict the risk for sarcopenia, at least in older Asian adults.

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