Chronic Muscle Disuse in the Elderly

This study is currently recruiting participants. (see Contacts and Locations)
Verified December 2010 by University of Vermont
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Michael J. Toth, Ph.D., University of Vermont Identifier:
First received: August 25, 2010
Last updated: December 1, 2014
Last verified: December 2010

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
Behavioral: Resistance exercise training

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: 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 University of Vermont:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Single muscle fiber structure/function [ Time Frame: Baseline ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
  • Single muscle fiber structure/function [ Time Frame: 3.5 months (post-training) ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

Estimated Enrollment: 56
Study Start Date: October 2010
Estimated Study Completion Date: June 2015
Estimated Primary Completion Date: June 2015 (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
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
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.

  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01190046

Contact: Michael J. Toth, Ph.D. 802-656-7989

United States, Vermont
University of Vermont and State Agricultural College Recruiting
Burlington, Vermont, United States, 05405
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Vermont
Principal Investigator: Michael J. Toth, Ph.D. University of Vermont and State Agricultural College
  More Information

No publications provided

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
Study First Received: August 25, 2010
Last Updated: December 1, 2014
Health Authority: United States: Institutional Review Board

Keywords provided by University of Vermont:
exercise processed this record on March 26, 2015