DURHAM, NC—Physical resilience can make a different to how patients respond to health stressors, even if they appear to be clinically similar.

A study in the Journals of Gerontology Series A pointed out that molecular mechanisms underlying physical resilience often are unknown, however. Researchers from Duke University and the Durham, NC, VAMC noted that they had previously derived a measure of physical resilience after hip fracture—the expected recovery differential (ERD)—that captures the difference between actual recovery and predicted recovery.1

The study team employed biomarkers associated with physical performance, morbidity, mortality and hip fracture to evaluate associations with the ERD to identify resilience biomarkers that may represent molecular targets for enhancing resilience.

In the Baltimore Hip Studies, involving 304 patients, markers of inflammation (TNFR-I, TNFR-II, sVCAM-1, and IL-6); metabolic and mitochondrial function (conventional fatty acids, lactate, ketones, acylcarnitines, free amino acids and IGF-1); and epigenetic dysregulation (circulating microRNAs) were measured. The goal was to pinpoint biomarker associations with better-than-expected recovery (greater ERD) after hip fracture.

Results indicated that participants with greater ERD were more likely women and less disabled at baseline. “The complete biomarker set explained 37% of the variance in ERD (p<0.001) by CC. LASSO regression identified a biomarker subset that accounted for 27% of the total variance in the ERD and included a metabolic factor (aspartate/asparagine, C22, C5:1, lactate, glutamate/mine); TNFR-I; miR-376a-3p; and miR-16-5p,” the authors noted.

Researchers advised that they had identified a set of biomarkers that explained 27% of variance in ERD—a measure of enhanced physical resilience, adding, “These ERD-associated biomarkers may be useful in predicting physical resilience in older adults facing acute health stressors.”

  1. Parker DC, Colόn-Emeric C, Huebner JL, et al. Biomarkers Associated with Physical Resilience After Hip Fracture [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 9]. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2020;glaa119. doi:10.1093/gerona/glaa119