Higher uric acid serum levels are associated with better muscle function in the oldest old: Results from the Mugello Study

Published:March 22, 2017DOI:


      • Sarcopenia is the age-related progressive loss of muscle mass and strength.
      • Oxidative damage of muscle proteins is a major contributory factor to sarcopenia.
      • Uric acid (UA) is a powerful endogenous scavenging antioxidant.
      • Higher UA levels are associated with better muscle function in nonagenarians.
      • Higher UA levels might slow down the progression of sarcopenia in late life.



      Sarcopenia is the progressive loss of muscle mass and strength that occurs with advancing age and plays a pivotal role in the causal pathway leading to frailty, disability and, eventually, to death among older persons. As oxidative damage of muscle proteins has been shown to be a relevant contributory factor, in this study we hypothesized that uric acid (UA), a powerful endogenous antioxidant, might exert a protective effect on muscle function in the oldest old and we tested our hypothesis in a group of nonagenarians who participated in the Mugello Study.


      239 subjects, 73 men and 166 women, mean age 92.8 years ± SD 3.1, underwent the assessment of UA serum level and isometric handgrip strength, a widely used clinical measure of sarcopenia.


      Mean UA serum level was 5.69 mg/dL ± SD 1.70 and mean handgrip strength was 15.0 kg ± SD 6.9. After adjusting for relevant confounders, higher UA serum levels remained independent positive predictors of isometric handgrip strength (β 1.24 ± SE(β) 0.43, p = 0.005).


      Our results show that higher UA serum levels are associated with better muscle function in the oldest old and, accordingly, might slow down the progression of sarcopenia.


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