Psoas and paraspinous muscle index as a predictor of mortality in African American men with type 2 diabetes mellitus

J Diabetes Complications. 2018 Jun;32(6):558-564. doi: 10.1016/j.jdiacomp.2018.03.004. Epub 2018 Mar 19.


Aim: Recent studies revealed a correlation between skeletal muscle mass index and density with longevity; these studies largely evaluated appendicular skeletal muscles in older Caucasians. This retrospective cohort study assessed the association between axial skeletal muscles size and density with survival in African Americans with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Methods: Psoas and paraspinous muscle mass index (cross sectional area/height2) and radiographic density (in Hounsfield Units) were measured using computed tomography in African American-Diabetes Heart Study participants, 314 women and 256 men, with median (25th, 75th quartile) age 55.0(48.0, 62.0) and 57.0(50.0, 64.0) years, respectively. Covariates in fully-adjusted model included age, sex, BMI, smoking, hormone replacement therapy (women), cardiovascular disease, hypertension, coronary artery calcified plaque mass, carotid artery calcified plaque mass, and African ancestry proportion.

Results: After median of 7.1(5.9, 8.2) years follow-up, 30(9.6%) of women and 49(19.1%) of men were deceased. In fully-adjusted models, psoas muscle mass index and paraspinous muscle mass index were inversely associated with mortality in men (psoas muscle mass index, hazard ratio [HR] = 0.61, P = 0.004; paraspinous muscle mass index, HR = 0.64, P = 0.004), but not in women. Psoas and paraspinous muscle densities did not associate with all-cause mortality. A penalized Cox regression that involved all covariates and predictors associated with mortality showed that only paraspinous muscle mass index remained a significant predictor of mortality (HR = 0.65, P = 0.02).

Conclusion: Independent from established risk factors for mortality, higher psoas and paraspinous muscle index associate with reduced all-cause mortality in middle-aged African American men with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Keywords: African American; Computed tomography; Mortality; Muscle; Type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Black or African American* / statistics & numerical data
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diagnosis*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / ethnology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / mortality*
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Paraspinal Muscles / diagnostic imaging
  • Paraspinal Muscles / pathology*
  • Prognosis
  • Psoas Muscles / diagnostic imaging
  • Psoas Muscles / pathology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed