Patel, Harnish P., Syddall, H.E., Martin, H.J., Cooper, C., Stewart, C. and Sayer, A.A.
The feasibility and acceptability of muscle biopsy in epidemiological studies: findings from the hertfordshire sarcopenia study (HSS)
Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging, 15, (1), . (doi:10.1007/s12603-010-0117-7). (PMID:21267515).
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Background: Sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass and strength, is associated adversely with disability, morbidity and mortality. Epidemiological findings suggest influences operating across the life course may be important. Our aim was to ascertain the feasibility and acceptability of obtaining muscle tissue from healthy older people in order to ultimately identify cellular mechanisms underlying life course influences on sarcopenia.
Methods: 105 men with documented birth weight consented to detailed assessment of muscle mass and strength, and a biopsy of the vastus lateralis using the Weil-Blakesley conchotome. Acceptability was ascertained by questionnaire and a 100mm pain Visual Analogue Scale (VAS). 100mm indicated severe pain.
Results: Muscle biopsy was successfully carried out in 102 out of 105 participants, mean yield 107mg (range 20–290mg). There were no serious wound complications. Ninety-three participants completed feedback questionnaires. The median pain VAS score during the procedure was 7mm (Interquartile range [IQR] 1–34), 4mm (IQR 0–16) one day after the procedure and 1mm (IQR 0–4) 7 days after the procedure. 60 (65%) participants were back to their normal levels of activity one day after the procedure. 85 (91%) found this procedure acceptable and would have the procedure again.
Conclusion: Muscle biopsy using a Weil-Blakesley conchotome is both feasible and acceptable in community dwelling older men participating in epidemiological research. The excellent yield of biopsy tissue will allow morphological and molecular studies of muscle to be integrated into an epidemiological study facilitating investigation of the mechanisms underpinning sarcopenia that could potentially be altered by life course influences.
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