Sarcopenia is a multifaceted geriatric syndrome associated with the loss of muscle mass. We examined the relationship between low muscle mass and inflammatory cytokines in the context of aging. This study involved 299 participants (127 men and 172 women; mean age 63.3±9.8 years) who underwent health checkups for body composition and inflammatory cytokine (TNF-alpha, IL-6, and MCP-1) levels. Muscle mass was determined using the skeletal muscle mass index. We divided the participants into the normal (N) and low muscle mass (L) groups and compared the levels of inflammatory cytokines in nonelderly (<65 years) and elderly (≥65 years) participants. Among the nonelderly subjects, C-reactive protein was significantly lower in the L group than in the N group (p<0.05). However, there was no significant difference in the inflammatory cytokine levels between the groups. Among the elderly subjects, the TNF-alpha level was significantly lower in the L group than in the N group (p<0.05), whereas there were no significant differences in the IL-6 and MCP-1 levels. Moreover, TNF-alpha was identified as a risk factor for the L group in the logistic regression analysis (Exp (B) 0.935, 95% CI: 0.876-0.997, p=0.04). Although a low TNF-alpha level is a risk factor for low muscle mass, inflammatory cytokine levels are not necessarily elevated in elderly individuals with the loss of muscle mass.
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