Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune neurodegenerative disease of the central nervous system. Sarcopenia, which is characterized by the loss of physical performance and poor outcomes, has recently become the focus of research. However, the relationship between sarcopenia and MS has not yet been investigated. This study aims to determine the prevalence of sarcopenia in MS patients and investigate the factors associated with sarcopenia.
One hundred and one MS patients who can walk without assistance and 55 healthy controls were included. Handgrip strength (HGS) and gait speed tests were applied to all participants. Additionally, anterior thigh muscle thickness (anterior TMT) and skeletal muscle mass index (SSMI) were estimated by ultrasound and bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), respectively. According to these tests, MS patients were grouped as either sarcopenic or non-sarcopenic. The groups were compared using clinical and laboratory data, handgrip strength and performance test, Modified Fatigue Impact Scale (MFIS), and the Godin leisure-time exercise questionnaire (GLTEQ).
HGS, gait speed, fat free mass (FFM), SMMI, anterior TMT, and sonographic thigh adjustment ratio (STAR) values in patients with MS were significantly lower than healthy controls for both sexes (for female, p:0.001, p:0.001, p:0.010, p:0.049, p:0.001, and p:0.101, respectively; for male, all p:0.001). Compared with healthy controls, MS patients had a significantly lower GLTEQ score (p:0.001), while the MFIS score (p:0.001) was higher. According to STAR, HGS, and gait speed, sarcopenia was diagnosed in 12 (17.64%) female and 7 (21.21%) male patients with MS. Whole-body sarcopenia was diagnosed in only 11 (10.9%) of the patients by BIA. HGS, gait speed, FFM, anterior TMT, and STAR values in sarcopenic MS patients were significantly lower than in non-sarcopenic for females (p:0.001, p:0.001, p:0.004, p:0.001, and p:0.001, respectively) and males (p:0.001, p:0.001, p:0.011, p:0.003, and p:0.001, respectively). MFIS score was significantly higher in sarcopenic patients than non-sarcopenic for both females (p:0.001) and males (p:0.036), but only the physical fatigue subscale was significantly higher. While the physical fatigue score was negatively correlated with GLTEQ in MS patients (r:-0.276, p:0.005), it was positively correlated with the expanded disability status scale (r:0.409, p:0.001).
We detected that approximately one-fifth of MS patients have sarcopenia. Regional sarcopenia was more prevalent than whole body sarcopenia. We found a high degree of fatigue and lack of exercise in sarcopenic MS patients.

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier B.V.