Reaction time in healthy elderly is associated with chronic low-grade inflammation and advanced glycation end product

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Chronic inflammation and Advanced Glycation End products (AGE) are associated with sarcopenia. Decreased voluntary muscle activation and increased antagonist coactivation can contribute to age-related muscle weakness. The influence of chronic inflammation and AGE in these neuromuscular mechanisms is not clear. We studied whether a relation exists between circulating levels of inflammatory cytokines and AGEs as well as the interplay between agonist and antagonist muscle activation. We studied 64 community-dwelling old subjects, during a maximal isometric voluntary contraction (MVC) and a reaction-time (RT) test of the upper limb. Twenty-five circulating inflammatory biomarkers were determined. Linear regression showed significant relationships between chronic inflammation and six muscle activation parameters. MIP-1β showed a significant negative relation with antagonist coactivation (during MVC) and antagonist muscle activity during pre-movement time (PMT) and movement time (MT) (during RT). A higher level of pentosidine (AGE) was predictive for a longer PMT. We conclude that in older relatively healthy persons antagonist muscle activation is influenced by chronic inflammation, contributing to age-related muscle weakness. Our results also suggest a mechanical and inflammatory influence of pentosidine in upper limb slowing of movement. These findings show novel insight in underlying mechanisms of age-related muscle weakness.HIGHLIGHTSRelations of inflammation & AGE's with antagonist muscle activation were studied.Inflammation related negatively to antagonist activation during maximal contraction.MIP-1β was negatively related to antagonist activity during a reaction time test.A higher level of pentosidine was predictive for a longer pre-movement time.We provided novel insight in underlying mechanisms of age-related muscle weakness.

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