Age-related Degeneration of Lumbar Muscle Morphology in Healthy Younger versus Older Men

Alexander David Francis Dallaway, John Hattersley, M Diokno, Jason Tallis, Derek Renshaw, Adrian Wilson, Sarah Wayte, Michael Duncan, Andrew Weedall

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    12 Citations (Scopus)
    22 Downloads (Pure)


    Aim: The aim of this study was to evaluate age-related changes in lumbar paravertebral muscle (LPM) morphology in healthy younger and older adult men. Methods: T2-weighted axial MRI of the lumbar spine were obtained for twelve healthy older (67.3±6.0 years) and younger (24.7±3.1 years) men. Normalised muscle volume (NMV) and muscle-fat-infiltrate (MFI) were determined bilaterally for the psoas (PS), quadratus lumborum (QL), erector spinae (ES) and multifidus (MF). MANOVA was used to compare NMV and MFI between age groups. Follow-up ANOVA compared NMV and MFI for each muscle between age groups, with physical activity (PA) as a covariate. Stepwise regression was used to explore the association between muscle morphology. Results: NMV of the ES and QL were significantly lower in the older group (OG) (p=.040 and p<.001, respectively). MFI across all muscles was significantly greater in the OG (p<.001). PA did not moderate the relationship between aging and muscle degeneration. Non-dominant handgrip strength was associated with NMV (p=.003). Conclusions: Age-related atrophy is muscle-specific in the lumbar spine; changes in lumbar musculature is independent of PA, handgrip strength may reflect morphological changes in the postural muscles with age. This study supports establishing effective targeted exercise interventions in the lumbar musculature.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1583-1597
    Number of pages15
    JournalThe Aging Male
    Issue number5
    Early online date10 Mar 2021
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Bibliographical note

    The Aging Male is an Open Access international, peer-reviewed journal.


    • MRI
    • Paravertebral muscles
    • aging
    • atrophy
    • fat infiltration
    • spinal sarcopenia

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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