Oxidative protein damage is associated with poor grip strength among older women living in the community

Caitlin Howard, Luigi Ferrucci, Kai Sun, Linda P. Fried, Jeremy Walston, Ravi Varadhan, Jack M. Guralnik, Richard D. Semba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


Grip strength, an indicator of muscle strength, has been shown to be a predictor of poor outcomes among older adults. Protein carbonylation, an indicator of oxidative damage to proteins, leads to cellular dysfunction and a decline in tissue function. Oxidative stress has been implicated in the pathogenesis of sarcopenia. The objective was to determine whether serum protein carbonyl concentrations are associated with grip strength in older women living in the community. A cross-sectional study was conducted in 672 women, aged 65 and older, from the Women's Health and Aging Study (WHAS) I, the one-third most disabled women residing in the community in Baltimore, MD. Protein carbonyl and grip strength were measured in each patient. In a multivariate analysis adjusting for age, race, body mass index, and Mini-Mental Status Examination score, protein carbonyls (nmol/mg) were associated with grip strength (β = -6.77, P < 0.01). The statistical association was unchanged after the analysis adjusted for hypertension, congestive heart failure, and depression. Ordered logistic regression models adjusted for the above factors showed that protein carbonyls are associated with increased odds of being in the lower quartiles of grip strength (odds ratio 8.74, 95% confidence interval 1.06-71.89, P = 0.043). These results suggest oxidative protein damage is independently associated with low grip strength among older women living in the community. Increased oxidative stress may be contributing to loss of muscle strength in older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-20
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2007


  • Aging
  • Interleukin-6
  • Oxidative stress
  • Protein carbonyls
  • Sarcopenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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