Low Serum Branched-Chain Amino Acid and Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 Levels Are Associated with Sarcopenia and Slow Gait Speed in Patients with Liver Cirrhosis

J Clin Med. 2020 Oct 10;9(10):3239. doi: 10.3390/jcm9103239.

Abstract

Branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) are essential for muscle protein synthesis. We investigated the association of serum BCAA and IGF-1 levels with sarcopenia and gait speed in 192 patients with liver cirrhosis (LC). Sarcopenia was diagnosed according to the Japan Society of Hepatology criteria. Slow gait speed was defined as <1.0 m/s. Subjects were divided into three groups based on baseline BCAA or IGF-1 levels: low (L), intermediate (I), and high (H) groups. The L-BCAA group had the highest prevalence of sarcopenia (60.4%, p < 0.001) and slow gait speed (56.3%, p = 0.008), whereas the H-BCAA group had the lowest prevalence of sarcopenia (8.5%, p < 0.001). The L-IGF-1 group showed the highest prevalence of sarcopenia (46.9%, p < 0.001), whereas the H-IGF-1 group had the lowest prevalence of sarcopenia (10.0%, p < 0.001) and slow gait speed (18.0%, p = 0.003). Using the optimal BCAA and IGF-1 cutoff values for predicting sarcopenia (372 μmol/L and 48.5 ng/mL, respectively), the sensitivity and specificity were 0.709 and 0.759 for BCAA and 0.636 and 0.715 for IGF-1, respectively. Low serum BCAA and IGF-1 levels were associated with sarcopenia and slow gait speed in patients with LC.

Keywords: BCAA; IGF-1; liver cirrhosis; sarcopenia; slow gait speed.