Physiological correlates of age-related decline in vibrotactile sensitivity

Nandini Deshpande, E. Jeffery Metter, Shari Ling, Robin Conwit, Luigi Ferrucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to describe age-related changes in vibrotactile sensitivity in participants of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging and to identify factors that are associated with impairment in vibrotactile sensitivity independent of age. Participants (n = 523, age: 26-95 years) underwent measurements of vibration perception threshold (VPT, 100 Hz) under the 2nd metatarsal head, glucose tolerance, serum inflammatory markers, nerve conduction parameters, movement time and cognition. Univariate and multivariate regression analyses were performed to identify factors that predicted VPT independent of age. Structural equation modeling was used to describe relationships between these variables. VPT was progressively higher with older age. Adjusting for age and height, VPT was similar in men and women and the slope of age-related decline was similar in the two genders. Age, height, peroneal nerve conduction velocity and peroneal nerve amplitude were independent predictors of VPT. Structural equation model demonstrated a direct relationship between peripheral nerve function and VPT. Height and circulating inflammatory markers may influence age-related decline in vibrotactile sensitivity through their negative impacts on peripheral nerve function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)765-773
Number of pages9
JournalNeurobiology of aging
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Peripheral nerve function
  • Vibration perception threshold
  • Vibrotactile sensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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