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Open AccessArticle

Role of Menopausal Transition and Physical Activity in Loss of Lean and Muscle Mass: A Follow-Up Study in Middle-Aged Finnish Women

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Gerontology Research Center and Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, 40014 Jyväskylä, Finland
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Neuromuscular Research Center, Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, 40014 Jyväskylä, Finland
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Department for Health, Bath University, Bath BA2 7AY, UK
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Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, 40014 Jyväskylä, Finland
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LIKES Research Centre for Physical Activity and Health, 40700 Jyväskylä, Finland
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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pelvic Floor Research and Therapy Unit, Central Finland Central Hospital, 40620 Jyväskylä, Finland
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(5), 1588; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9051588
Received: 19 April 2020 / Revised: 15 May 2020 / Accepted: 22 May 2020 / Published: 23 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sarcopenia: Skeletal Muscle Health and Ageing)
In midlife, women experience hormonal changes due to menopausal transition. A decrease especially in estradiol has been hypothesized to cause loss of muscle mass. This study investigated the effect of menopausal transition on changes in lean and muscle mass, from the total body to the muscle fiber level, among 47–55-year-old women. Data were used from the Estrogenic Regulation of Muscle Apoptosis (ERMA) study, where 234 women were followed from perimenopause to early postmenopause. Hormone levels (estradiol and follicle stimulating hormone), total and regional body composition (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and computed tomography (CT) scans), physical activity level (self-reported and accelerometer-measured) and muscle fiber properties (muscle biopsy) were assessed at baseline and at early postmenopause. Significant decreases were seen in lean body mass (LBM), lean body mass index (LBMI), appendicular lean mass (ALM), appendicular lean mass index (ALMI), leg lean mass and thigh muscle cross-sectional area (CSA). Menopausal status was a significant predictor for all tested muscle mass variables, while physical activity was an additional significant contributor for LBM, ALM, ALMI, leg lean mass and relative muscle CSA. Menopausal transition was associated with loss of muscle mass at multiple anatomical levels, while physical activity was beneficial for the maintenance of skeletal muscle mass. View Full-Text
Keywords: menopause; female aging; skeletal muscle; sarcopenia; estradiol; physical activity menopause; female aging; skeletal muscle; sarcopenia; estradiol; physical activity
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Juppi, H.-K.; Sipilä, S.; Cronin, N.J.; Karvinen, S.; Karppinen, J.E.; Tammelin, T.H.; Aukee, P.; Kovanen, V.; Kujala, U.M.; Laakkonen, E.K. Role of Menopausal Transition and Physical Activity in Loss of Lean and Muscle Mass: A Follow-Up Study in Middle-Aged Finnish Women. J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9, 1588.

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