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Case Reports in Medicine
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 205691, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/205691
Case Report

Resistance Exercise Reduces Skeletal Muscle Cachexia and Improves Muscle Function in Rheumatoid Arthritis

1Human Performance Laboratory, West Virginia University School of Medicine, Morgantown, WV 26506-9227, USA
2Laboratory of Muscle Biology and Sarcopenia, West Virginia University School of Medicine, Morgantown, WV 26506-9227, USA
3Division of Exercise Physiology, Center for Cardiovascular and Respiratory Sciences, West Virginia University School of Medicine, Morgantown, WV 26506-9227, USA
4Department of Medicine, West Virginia University School of Medicine, Morgantown, WV 26506-9227, USA
5Division of Exercise Physiology, Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center, West Virginia University School of Medicine, 1 Medical Center, P.O. Box 9227, Morgantown, WV 26506-9227, USA

Received 30 June 2011; Accepted 1 September 2011

Academic Editor: Peter Schwarz

Copyright © 2011 Salaheddin Sharif et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic, autoimmune, inflammatory disease associated with cachexia (reduced muscle and increased fat). Although strength-training exercise has been used in persons with RA, it is not clear if it is effective for reducing cachexia. A 46-year-old woman was studied to determine: (i) if resistance exercise could reverse cachexia by improving muscle mass, fiber cross-sectional area, and muscle function; and (2) if elevated apoptotic signaling was involved in cachexia with RA and could be reduced by resistance training. A needle biopsy was obtained from the vastus lateralis muscle of the RA subject before and after 16 weeks of resistance training. Knee extensor strength increased by 13.6% and fatigue decreased by 2.8% Muscle mass increased by 2.1%. Average muscle fiber cross-sectional area increased by 49.7%, and muscle nuclei increased slightly after strength training from 0.08 to 0.12 nuclei/μm2. In addition, there was a slight decrease (1.6%) in the number of apoptotic muscle nuclei after resistance training. This case study suggests that resistance training may be a good tool for increasing the number of nuclei per fiber area, decreasing apoptotic nuclei, and inducing fiber hypertrophy in persons with RA, thereby slowing or reversing rheumatoid cachexia.