Evaluation of the mechanisms of sarcopenia in chronic inflammatory disease: protocol for a prospective cohort study

Amritpal Dhaliwal, Felicity R Williams, Jonathan I Quinlan, Sophie L Allen, Carolyn Greig, Andrew Filer, Karim Raza, Subrata Ghosh, Gareth G Lavery, Philip N Newsome, Surabhi Choudhary, Leigh Breen, Matthew J Armstrong, Ahmed M Elsharkawy, Janet M Lord*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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BACKGROUND: Several chronic inflammatory diseases co-exist with and accelerate sarcopenia (reduction in muscle strength, function and mass) and negatively impact on both morbidity and mortality. There is currently limited research on the extent of sarcopenia in such conditions, how to accurately assess it and whether there are generic or disease-specific mechanisms driving sarcopenia. Therefore, this study aims to identify potential mechanisms driving sarcopenia within chronic inflammatory disease via a multi-modal approach; in an attempt to help define potential interventions for future use.

METHODS: This prospective cohort study will consist of a multi-modal assessment of sarcopenia and its underlying mechanisms. Recruitment will target three chronic inflammatory diseases: chronic liver disease (CLD) (n=50), with a subset of NAFLD (n=20), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) (n=50) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) (n=50) both before and after therapeutic intervention. In addition, 20 age and sex matched healthy individuals will be recruited for comparison. Participants will undergo 4 assessment visits at weeks 0, 2, 12 and 24. Visits will consist of the following assessments: blood tests, anthropometrics, functional assessment, quadriceps muscle imaging, actigraphy, quality of life questionnaires, food diary collection and muscle biopsy of the vastus lateralis (at weeks 2 and 24 only). In addition, stool and urine samples will be collected for future microbiome and metabolomics analysis.

DISCUSSION: This is the first study to use a multi-modal assessment model to phenotype sarcopenia in these chronic inflammatory diseases. We hope to identify generic as well as disease-specific mechanisms driving sarcopenia. We appreciate that these cohorts do require separate standards of care treatments which limit comparison between groups.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The study is approved by the Health Research Authority - West Midlands Solihull Research Ethics Service Committee Authority (REC reference: 18/WM/0167). Recruitment commenced in January 2019 and will continue until July 2021. The study was halted in March 2020 and again in January 2021 with the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings will be disseminated through peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations. All data will be stored on a secure server.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04734496.

Original languageEnglish
Article number27
Number of pages14
JournalSkeletal Muscle
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021. The Author(s).


  • Adult
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid/complications
  • Case-Control Studies
  • End Stage Liver Disease/complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases/complications
  • Male
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease/complications
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sarcopenia/etiology


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