Background: Loss of muscle mass and strength (i.e., sarcopenia) in the older adults is a strong predictor of falls, with subsequent morbidity and inability to execute activities of daily living. Use of biomarkers may enhance assessment of effects of community-based exercise interventions aimed at improving muscle strength.
Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the use of troponin as a newly proposed biomarker of skeletal muscle health when determining the outcomes of strength-training programs designed for community-dwelling adults over the age of 65 years.
Methods: Outcomes of two strength training programs ("Peer Exercise Program Promotes Independence" and "Stay Strong, Stay Healthy") were assessed using physical performance tests designed for senior fitness evaluation, grip strength, and changes in serum levels of skeletal muscle-specific troponin T (sTnT).
Results: Improvement in physical performance, including a significant increase in grip strength, was associated with a significant reduction in serum levels of sTnT.
Discussion: Findings from these studies suggest that, when "Peer Exercise Program Promotes Independence" and "Stay Strong, Stay Healthy" are implemented for at least 10 weeks, significant gains in strength are achieved. This strength improvement was associated with a reduction in serum levels of troponin, supporting the use of troponin as a novel biomarker of muscle health in the assessment of strength training programs for the older adults. Reduced sTnT after exercise intervention suggests that skeletal muscles become stronger and less susceptible to damage because of the exercise regimens.