Elevated plasma growth and differentiation factor 15 is associated with slower gait speed and lower physical performance in healthy community-dwelling adults

Richard D. Semba, Marta Gonzalez-Freire, Toshiko Tanaka, Angelique Biancotto, Pingbo Zhang, Michelle Shardell, Ruin Moaddel, Luigi Ferrucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Growth and differentiation factor 15 (GDF-15) has been associated with obesity, muscle wasting, and cachexia. The receptor for GDF-15 was recently identified in the brainstem and regulates food intake and metabolism. The relationship of plasma GDF-15 with the age-associated decline of muscle mass and strength, gait speed, and physical performance in adults has not been well characterized. Methods: Plasma GDF-15, grip strength, 6-m gait speed, 400-m walking test time, lower extremity physical performance score, appendicular lean mass, and fat mass were measured in 194 healthy adult participants, aged 22-93 years, of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. Results: Plasma GDF-15 concentrations increased with age (p < .001) and were higher in whites compared with blacks and Asians (p = .04). Adults with higher plasma GDF-15 had slower 6-m gait speed, longer 400-m walking time, and lower physical performance score in multivariable analyses adjusting for age and race. Plasma GDF-15 was not associated with grip strength, appendicular lean mass, or fat mass. Conclusions: Elevated plasma GDF-15 is associated with slower gait speed, higher 400-m walking time, and lower physical performance in very healthy community-dwelling adults. The relationship between plasma GDF-15 and sarcopenia-related outcomes may be stronger in the population not selected to be healthy, and this hypothesis should be tested in a representative population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-180
Number of pages6
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Volume75
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Growth and differentiation factor 15
  • Physical performance
  • Sarcopenia
  • Skeletal muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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