Muscular strength, assessed by handgrip, is a risk indicator for psychiatric disorders, including psychosis. However, the biological mechanisms underlying this association remain unclear. Since advanced glycation end products (AGEs) play a key role in skeletal muscle underdevelopment and psychosis, we examined the role of AGEs in the longitudinal association between muscular strength and psychotic symptoms among adolescents. We first evaluated the direction of the relationship between handgrip strength and urine levels of pentosidine, a representative AGEs in a population-based birth cohort of 1,542 adolescents at ages 12 and 14. Then, we examined the role of AGEs in the longitudinal association between handgrip strength and thought problems (TP), as a psychotic symptom indicator, in a subsample of 256 adolescents at ages 13 and 14. An autoregressive cross-lagged model revealed that handgrip strength at age 12 negatively predicted pentosidine levels at age 14 (β = −0.20, p < 0.001), whereas pentosidine levels at age 12 did not predict handgrip strength at age 14 (β = 0.04, p = 0.062). Moreover, pentosidine levels had a significant indirect effect on the relationship between handgrip strength and TP (standard indirect effect = −0.051, p = 0.012), which remained significant after adjusting for gender and preceded TP and pentosidine levels. Thus, adolescents with low muscular strength are at a high risk of developing psychotic symptoms, which could be mediated by AGEs. Future studies need to investigate whether interventions focused on muscular strength prevent the accumulation of AGEs and thereby prevent the development of psychosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health