Plasma Transthyretin as A Biomarker of Sarcopenia in Elderly Subjects.Nutrients 2019; 11(4)N
Skeletal muscle (SM) mass, the chief component of the structural compartment belonging to lean body mass (LBM), undergoes sarcopenia with increasing age. Decreased SM in elderly persons is a naturally occurring process that may be accelerated by acute or chronic nutritional deficiencies and/or inflammatory disorders, declining processes associated with harmful complications. A recently published position paper by European experts has provided an overall survey on the definition and diagnosis of sarcopenia in elderly persons. The present review describes the additional contributory role played by the noninvasive transthyretin (TTR) micromethod. The body mass index (BMI) formula is currently used in clinical studies as a criterion of good health to detect, prevent, and follow up on the downward trend of muscle mass. The recent upsurge of sarcopenic obesity with its multiple subclasses has led to a confused stratification of SM and fat stores, prompting workers to eliminate BMI from screening programs. As a result, investigators are now focusing on indices of protein status that participate in SM growth, maturation, and catabolism that might serve to identify sarcopenia trajectories. Plasma TTR is clearly superior to all other hepatic biomarkers, showing the same evolutionary patterns as those displayed in health and disease by both visceral and structural LBM compartments. As a result, this TTR parameter maintains positive correlations with muscle mass downsizing in elderly persons. The liver synthesis of TTR is downregulated in protein-depleted states and suppressed in cytokine-induced inflammatory disorders. TTR integrates the centrally-mediated regulatory mechanisms governing the balance between protein accretion and protein breakdown, emerging as the ultimate indicator of LBM resources. This review proposes the adoption of a gray zone defined by cut-off values ranging from 200 mg/L to 100 mg/L between which TTR plasma values may fluctuate and predict either the best or the worst outcome. The best outcome occurs when appropriate dietary, medicinal and surgical decisions are undertaken, resuming TTR synthesis which manifests rising trends towards pre-stress levels. The worst occurs when all therapeutic means fail to succeed, leading inevitably to complete exhaustion of LBM and SM metabolic resources with an ensuing fatal outcome. Some patients may remain unresponsive in the middle of the gray area, combining steady clinical states with persistent stagnant TTR values. Using the serial measurement of plasma TTR values, these last patients should be treated with the most aggressive and appropriate therapeutic strategies to ensure the best outcome.