Serum Transthyretin and Aminotransferases are associated with Lean Mass in People with Coronary Heart Disease. Further Insights from the CARE-CR study

Emily James*, Stuart Goodall, Simon Nichols, Karen Walker, Sean Carroll, Alasdair O'Doherty, Lee Ingle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Background
Low muscle mass disproportionately affects people with coronary heart disease compared to healthy controls but is under-researched and insufficiently treated. Inflammation, poor nutrition, and neural decline might contribute to low muscle mass. This study aimed to assess circulatory biomarkers related to these mechanisms (albumin, transthyretin, alanine aminotransferase [ALT], aspartate aminotransferase [AST]) and C-terminal agrin fragment) and their relationship with muscle mass in people with coronary heart disease. Our findings could be beneficial to indicate mechanisms of sarcopenia, detect sarcopenia, and evaluate treatment.
Methods
Serum blood samples from people with coronary heart disease were analysed for biomarker concentrations using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Skeletal muscle mass was estimated using dual X-ray absorptiometry derived appendicular lean mass and reported as skeletal muscle index (SMI; kg.m−2), and as a proportion of total body mass (appendicular skeletal mass [ASM%]). Low muscle mass was defined as a SMI <7.0 and <6.0 kg.m-2, or ASM% <25.72% and <19.43% for men and women, respectively. Associations between biomarkers and lean mass were adjusted for age and inflammation.
Results
Sixty-four people were assessed; fourteen (21.9%) had low muscle mass. People with low muscle mass had lower transthyretin (effect size 0.34, P = 0.007), ALT (effect size 0.34, P = 0.008) and AST (effect size 0.26, P = 0.037) concentrations, compared to those with normal muscle mass. SMI was associated with inflammation-corrected ALT (r = 0.261, P = 0.039) and with inflammation- and age-adjusted AST/ALT ratio (r = −0.257, P = 0.044). Albumin and C-terminal agrin fragment were not associated with muscle mass indices.
Conclusion
Circulatory transthyretin, ALT and AST were associated with low muscle mass in people with coronary heart disease. Low concentrations of these biomarkers might indicate that low muscle mass is partially explained by poor nutrition and high inflammation in this cohort. Targeted treatments to address these factors could be considered for people with coronary heart disease.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1094733
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalFrontiers in Medicine
Volume10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2023

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