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Chronic Muscle Disuse in the Elderly

This study has been completed.
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Michael J. Toth, Ph.D., University of Vermont Identifier:
First received: August 25, 2010
Last updated: November 15, 2016
Last verified: November 2016
The purpose of this study is to define the effects of chronic disuse on skeletal muscle structure and function in elderly individuals at the cellular and molecular level by examining elderly characterized by chronic muscle disuse (patients with knee osteoarthritis) and healthy elderly no evidence of knee osteoarthritis and normal physical activity levels.

Condition Intervention
Osteoarthritis Behavioral: Resistance exercise training

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Basic Science
Official Title: Muscle Disuse and Contractile Dysfunction in the Elderly

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Michael J. Toth, Ph.D., University of Vermont:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Single muscle fiber structure/function [ Time Frame: Baseline ]
  • Single muscle fiber structure/function [ Time Frame: 3.5 months (post-training) ]

Enrollment: 35
Study Start Date: October 2010
Study Completion Date: June 2016
Primary Completion Date: June 2016 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Resistance exercise training
Exercise is being used as an experimental tool to determine if remediation of muscle disuse counteracts cellular/molecular defects in muscle structure/function.
Behavioral: Resistance exercise training
Lower extremity resistance exercise training 3x/wk

Detailed Description:
Skeletal muscle disuse is an important contributing factor to physical disability. Disuse is more frequent in the elderly and they are more susceptible to its debilitating effects because of their diminished physiological reserve. Despite these facts, the mechanisms whereby disuse promotes skeletal muscle contractile dysfunction in this population remain largely undetermined. Therefore, the investigators will systematically test for modifications of single skeletal muscle fiber structure and function that underlie contractile dysfunction. Elderly individuals characterized by chronic muscle disuse (patients with knee osteoarthritis) will be compared to carefully-matched controls with no clinical evidence of knee osteoarthritis and normal activity levels. Thereafter, elderly with chronic disuse will undergo an exercise intervention to remediate muscle disuse. The investigators hypothesize that muscle disuse impairs contractile function, in part, through alterations in myosin kinetics, myofilament protein content and the mechanical properties of the myofilament lattice and that exercise rehabilitation will counteract these deficits. The investigators will specifically examine the effect of disuse on mechanical, kinetic and structural properties and molecular composition of single muscle fibers in cases and controls, as well as determine how increasing muscle use in elderly with chronic disuse via exercise training affects muscle fiber mechanical, kinetic and structural properties and molecular composition. These translational studies will provide the first comprehensive evaluation of the cellular and molecular mechanisms through which muscle disuse alters skeletal muscle structure and contractile function in elderly humans. This knowledge can assist in the development and refinement of preventative and corrective therapies for disability by tailoring these approaches to address specific molecular defects.

Ages Eligible for Study:   60 Years to 80 Years   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes


Inclusion Criteria:

  • 60-80 yrs of age
  • physician-diagnosed, symptomatic knee osteoarthritis
  • ambulatory and able to perform lower extremity resistance exercise

Exclusion Criteria:

  • rheumatoid arthritis or other autoimmune disease
  • chronic heart, lung, kidney or liver disease or hypertension
  • diabetes
  • history of stroke
  • other neurological or musculoskeletal disease


Criteria are identical to those for knee osteoarthritis patients above, but controls will have no clinical or radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis and will have normal activity physical activity levels.

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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01190046

United States, Vermont
University of Vermont and State Agricultural College
Burlington, Vermont, United States, 05405
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Vermont
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Principal Investigator: Michael J. Toth, Ph.D. University of Vermont and State Agricultural College
  More Information


Responsible Party: Michael J. Toth, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Vermont Identifier: NCT01190046     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 033547
R01AG033547 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
Study First Received: August 25, 2010
Last Updated: November 15, 2016

Keywords provided by Michael J. Toth, Ph.D., University of Vermont:

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Joint Diseases
Musculoskeletal Diseases
Rheumatic Diseases processed this record on August 18, 2017