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Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC)

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Wendy M. Kohrt, PhD


Title: EC GRECC Investigator; Distinguished Professor of Medicine in the Division of Geriatric Medicine


University of Colorado webpage

Personal Statement
Wendy M Kohrt, PhD, is the former acting Director of the Eastern Colorado Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC). She is a Distinguished Professor of Medicine in the Division of Geriatric Medicine and the Nancy Anschutz Chair in Women’s Health Research at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. She holds several leadership positions including Director of Research for Geriatric Medicine, Associate Director of the Ludeman Family Center for Women’s Health Research, Director of the Energy Balance Assessment Core for the Colorado Nutrition and Obesity Research Center (NORC), and Associate Director of the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI). Her research is focused on the metabolic actions of estrogens and novel factors that influence the musculoskeletal adaptations to exercise. She has received continuous funding from the NIH as a principal investigator since 1991 and has more than 280 research publications. Dr. Kohrt is currently the PI of a VA Merit Review and two NIH Center grants, including a Specialized Center of Research Excellence (SCORE) in Sex Difference co-sponsored by the National Institute on Aging and the Office of Research on Women’s Health. She serves as Chair of the Steering Committee and Executive Steering Committee for the NIH Common Fund Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity Consortium (MoTrPAC).

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Research Interest


Dr. Kohrt’s VA research is focused on the disruption of calcium homeostasis by exercise

Dr. Kohrt’s VA research is focused on the disruption of calcium homeostasis by exercise. Some athletes, such as cyclists, have bone mineral density levels that are below normal. Although it is commonly believed that this is because they participate in weight-supported exercise (as opposed to weight-bearing), the Kohrt group documented that competitive cyclists lose BMD at an accelerated rate of 1% to 2% per year. They postulate that the disruption of calcium homeostasis during exercise contributes to this loss. The working model postulates that serum calcium declines during exercise, which leads to an increase in parathyroid hormone (PTH) and the stimulation of bone resorption to mobilize calcium from bone and prevent the serum calcium level from declining to a harmful level. They demonstrated that these changes occur in young and older, trained and untrained, women and men, and that the provision of supplemental calcium before and during exercise attenuates the disruptions in PTH and bone resorption. The current VA project is investigating whether this catabolic response of bone to exercise is diminished after repeated exercise bouts (i.e., exercise training).

Dimensions profile: See publications, grant, datasets, patents and clinical trial information.

Mentoring Activities
Since 1991, I have mentored or co-mentored 39 PhD-trained and 24 MD-trained research fellows from several departments/divisions (Geriatric Medicine, General Internal Medicine, Endocrinology, Infectious Diseases, Cardiology); the majority have established independent research careers. I serve as a senior faculty mentor on the following institutional training grants: Integrative Physiology of Aging (T32 AG000279); Nutrition (T32 DK007658; Colorado Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (K12 HD057022); and Colorado WHRH Career Development Center (K12 HD001271). I have served as mentor or co-mentor for 29 postdoctoral fellows supported by a T32 award, 8 supported by an F32 award, and 21 supported by a VA CDA or NIH K award.

The following images visualize Dr. Kohrt's work. The word cloud is drawn from publication titles. The research collaboration map shows research relationships (click the image to enlarge):

Dr. Kohrt's publication titles indicate primary work is pulmonary care
Word cloud from pub titles
Dr. Kohrt's collaborations are primarily from the University of Colorado
Research collaboration map
The following research fields have been used to summarize Dr. Kohrt's publications and grants. The categories are based on 332 publications and 15 grants.
Publications Grants
Clinical Research Clinical Research
Aging Nutrition
prevention Prevention
Clinical Trials and Supportive Activities Aging
Cardiovascular Clinical Trials and Supportive Activities
Estrogen Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis Cardiovascular
Nutrition Estrogen
Obesity Obesity
Diabetes Contraception/Reproduction

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Grants & Funding

Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity Consortium (MoTrPAC) - Colorado Clinical Center

Physical activity is known to have many beneficial effects on health, but the mechanisms by which this occurs are not well understood.
In 2016, the NIH Common Fund launched MoTrPAC to address this knowledge gap. MoTrPAC consists of several components (Clinical Centers, Preclinical Animal Sites, Chemical Analysis Sites, Bioinformatics Center, Coordinating Center) that are working together to develop a compendium of the molecular responses to acute exercise and exercise training, with a long-range goal of elucidating the mechanisms by which exercise improves health.
The final product of this initiative, which will be shared with the scientific community and the public, will be the MoTrPAC DataHub, populated with multi-omic, multi-tissue, and multi-species molecular and phenotypic data characterizing responses to acute and chronic endurance and resistance exercise.
Dr. Kohrt serves as the PI of the Colorado Clinical Center and as the Chair of the MoTrPAC Steering Committee and Executive Steering Committee.
Funder: National Institutes of Health
NIH website
Recruiting ↠ Find out how to participate in the MoTrPAC study.

Enhancing Skeletal Adaptation to Exercise by Attenuating the Acute Disruption of Calcium Homeostasis During Exercise

Exercise is essential for building and maintaining bone mass and strength. Still, current recommendations for achieving this need more detail on the optimal exercise prescription. Recent studies found that blood calcium level decreases during exercise and that calcium is mobilized from bone to slow the decline. If this repeatedly occurs during exercise training, it could diminish the potential benefits of exercise to improve bone health.
The proposed studies will determine whether taking supplemental calcium before exercise to minimize the decline in blood calcium levels is an effective way to improve the skeletal benefits of exercise. This research is essential for Veterans because they are at increased risk of hip fracture compared to non-Veterans. Further, because osteoporosis in men is under-recognized and under-treated, providing male (and female) Veterans with more specific exercise and nutrition guidelines can enhance bone health, reduce fracture risk, and improve quality of life.
Funder: Veterans Affairs
NIH website
Recruiting ↠ The study Enhancing Skeletal Adaptations – PTH and Exercise (ESkAPE) is recruiting research subjects, click to learn more.

Bioenergetic and Metabolic Consequences of the Loss of Gonadal Function

Role: PI
The decline in sex hormones (estrogen and testosterone) with aging can increase the risk for certain diseases; osteoporosis is a well-known example. The loss of estrogen is significant for women’s health because it occurs during mid-life. In contrast, the loss of testosterone in men occurs much later in life.
The Colorado Specialized Center of Research Excellence on Sex Differences (CO-SCORE) will advance novel ideas for how the loss of estrogen increases fat gain in the abdominal region, which increases the risk for heart disease and diabetes, and strategies that may be effective in preventing this.
Funder: National Institute on Aging
NIH website
Publications of note:
Oxidative Stress and Inflammation Are Associated With Age-Related Endothelial Dysfunction in Men With Low Testosterone
Sex Differences in Peripheral Artery Disease
Body composition and cardiometabolic health across the menopause transition
Metabolite G-Protein Coupled Receptors in Cardio-Metabolic Diseases

The Colorado Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health Program

Role: Director of Research
The areas of women's health and sex differences research have long had an inadequate cadre of investigators with top-quality training sufficient to make them competitive for limited research funding dollars. By using interdisciplinary training and excellent mentoring to develop the careers of the research leaders of tomorrow, we can address the most important, pressing questions in women's health and sex and gender differences. By equipping early career scientists to find the answers, we expect this grant to lead the way to tangible improvements in women's health in the United States.
Funder: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development
NIH website
Publications of note:
Analysis of Stroke Care Among 2019–2020 National Emergency Medical Services Information System Encounters
Obesity Management in Cardiometabolic Disease: State of the Art
Routine Screening for Transgender and Gender Diverse Adults Taking Gender-Affirming Hormone Therapy: a Narrative Review
Sex differences in the burden of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular risk across the life course

Anabolic Versus Catabolic Skeletal Effects of Endurance or Resistance Exercise in Older Veterans

Role: Mentor for PI: Sarah Wherry
The decrease in serum ionized calcium and the increase in parathyroid hormone and c-telopeptide of type I collagen (a marker of bone formation) that occurs during exercise, referred to as a disruption in calcium homeostasis, may explain why bone does not always result in the expected exercise-induced increase in bone mass or why exercise may lead to bone loss under certain conditions.
The disruption in calcium homeostasis has been well-characterized for acute endurance exercise. Still, the effects of resistance exercise and training could be more precise.
This study aims to determine if resistance exercise results in a different bone biomarker response than endurance exercise. The study also explores if ten weeks of endurance or resistance training disrupts calcium homeostasis.
Blood samples will be collected before, during, and after the exercise training period to assess changes in bone resorption and formation markers. Data will be used to develop future exercise interventions in older Veterans to preserve bone health.
Funder: Veterans Affairs
NIH website

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Recent Publications


Libby AE, Solt C, Jackman M, Sherk V, Foright RM, Johnson GC, Nguyen TT, Breit M, Hulett N, Rudolph M, Roberson PA, Wellberg E, Jambal P, Scalzo RL, Higgins J, Kumar TR, Wierman ME, Pan Z, Shankar K, Klemm DJ, Moreau KL, Kohrt WM, MacLean PS. Effects of Follicle Stimulating Hormone on Energy Balance and Tissue Metabolic Health After Loss of Ovarian Function. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2024 Mar 27. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00400.2023. Epub ahead of print.
PMID: 38536037.
Find more information on this paper from the Dimensions website

Blondin DP, Haman F, Swibas TM, Hogan-Lamarre S, Dumont L, Guertin J, Richard G, Weissenburger Q, Hildreth KL, Schauer IE, Panter S, Wayland L, Carpentier AC, Miao Y, Shi J, Juarez-Colunga E, Kohrt WM, Melanson EL. Brown Adipose Tissue Metabolism in Women is Dependent on Ovarian Status. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2024 Mar 13. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00077.2024. Epub ahead of print.
PMID: 38477875.
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Griffith G, Lamotte G, Mehta N, Fan P, Nikolich J, Springman V, Suttman E, Joslin E, Balfany K, Dunlap M, Kohrt WM, Christiansen CL, Melanson EL, Josbeno D, Chahine LM, Patterson CG, Corcos DM. Chronotropic Incompetence During Exercise Testing as a Marker of Autonomic Dysfunction in Individuals with Early Parkinson's Disease. J Parkinsons Dis. 2024 Jan 4. doi: 10.3233/JPD-230006. Epub ahead of print.
PMID: 38189712.
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Shah VN, Qui S, Stoneback J, Qamar L, Ferguson VL, Kohrt WM, Snell-Bergeon JK, Rao SD. Bone Structure and Turnover in Postmenopausal Women With Long-Standing Type 1 Diabetes. JBMR Plus. 2023 Oct 15;7(11):e10831. doi: 10.1002/jbm4.10831. PMCID: PMC10652172.
PMID: 38025041.
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Buchanan C, Buchanan C, Riordan M, Byrd J, Schulte M, Kohrt WM, Ambardekar AV, Allen LA, Wolfel G, Lawley J, Levine BD, Cornwell WK 3rd. Cardiopulmonary Performance Among Heart Failure Patients Before and After Left Ventricular Assist Device Implantation. JACC Heart Fail. 2023 Aug 7:S2213-1779(23)00367-0. doi: 10.1016/j.jchf.2023.06.017. Epub ahead of print.
PMID: 37632493.
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Patterson CG, Joslin E, Gil AB, Spigle W, Nemet T, Chahine L, Christiansen CL, Melanson E, Kohrt WM, Mancini M, Josbeno D, Balfany K, Griffith G, Dunlap MK, Lamotte G, Suttman E, Larson D, Branson C, McKee KE, Goelz L, Poon C, Tilley B, Kang UJ, Tansey MG, Luthra N, Tanner CM, Haus JM, Fantuzzi G, McFarland NR, Gonzalez-Latapi P, Foroud T, Motl R, Schwarzschild MA, Simuni T, Marek K, Naito A, Lungu C, Corcos DM; SPARX3-PSG Investigators. Study in Parkinson's disease of exercise phase 3 (SPARX3): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials. 2022 Oct 6;23(1):855. doi: 10.1186/s13063-022-06703-0. PMCID: PMC9535216.
PMID: 36203214.
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Dolan E, Dumas A, Keane KM, Bestetti G, Freitas LHM, Gualano B, Kohrt WM, Kelley GA, Pereira RMR, Sale C, Swinton PA. The Bone Biomarker Response to an Acute Bout of Exercise: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis. Sports Med. 2022 Jul 23. doi: 10.1007/s40279-022-01718-8. Epub ahead of print.
PMID: 35870108.
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Babcock MC, DuBose LE, Hildreth KL, Stauffer BL, Cornwell WK 3rd, Kohrt WM, Moreau KL. Age-associated reductions in cardiovagal baroreflex sensitivity are exaggerated in middle-aged and older men with low testosterone. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2022 Jun 30. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00245.2022. Epub ahead of print.
PMID: 35771224.
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Gavin KM, Sullivan TM, Maltzahn JK, Jackman MR, Libby AE, MacLean PS, Kohrt WM, Majka SM, Klemm DJ. Hematopoietic Stem Cell-Derived Adipocytes Modulate Adipose Tissue Cellularity, Leptin Production and Insulin Responsiveness in Female Mice. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2022 Jun 3;13:844877. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2022.844877. PMCID: PMC9203959.
PMID: 35721743.
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Swanson CM, Shanbhag P, Tussey EJ, Rynders CA, Wright KP Jr, Kohrt WM. Bone Turnover Markers After Six Nights of Insufficient Sleep and Subsequent Recovery Sleep in Healthy Men. Calcif Tissue Int. 2022 Feb 8. doi: 10.1007/s00223-022-00950-8. Epub ahead of print.
PMID: 35133471.
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Marlatt KL, Pitynski-Miller DR, Gavin KM, Moreau KL, Melanson EL, Santoro N, Kohrt WM. Body composition and cardiometabolic health across the menopause transition. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2022 Jan;30(1):14-27. doi: 10.1002/oby.23289.
PMID: 34932890.
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Wherry SJ, Swanson CM, Kohrt WM. Acute catabolic bone metabolism response to exercise in young and older adults: A narrative review. Exp Gerontol. 2021 Nov 23:111633. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2021.111633. Epub ahead of print.
PMID: 34826573.
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Babcock MC, DuBose LE, Witten TL, Stauffer BL, Hildreth KL, Schwartz RS, Kohrt WM, Moreau KL. Oxidative stress and inflammation are associated with age-related endothelial dysfunction in men with low testosterone. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2021 Oct 1:dgab715. doi: 10.1210/clinem/dgab715. Epub ahead of print.
PMID: 34597384.
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Gillman AS, Helmuth T, Koljack CE, Hutchison KE, Kohrt WM, Bryan AD. The Effects of Exercise Duration and Intensity on Breast Cancer-Related DNA Methylation: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Aug 17;13(16):4128. doi: 10.3390/cancers13164128. PMCID: PMC8394212.
PMID: 34439282.
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Gavin KM, Sullivan TM, Maltzahn JK, Rahkola JT, Acosta AS, Kohrt WM, Majka SM, Klemm DJ. Hematopoietic stem cells produce intermediate lineage adipocyte progenitors that simultaneously express both myeloid and mesenchymal lineage markers in adipose tissue. Adipocyte. 2021 Dec;10(1):394-407. doi: 10.1080/21623945.2021.1957290.
PMID: 34404315.
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Hamilton BR, Staines KA, Kelley GA, Kelley KS, Kohrt WM, Pitsiladis Y, Guppy FM. The Effects of Exercise on Bone Mineral Density in Men: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials. Calcif Tissue Int. 2021 Aug 11. doi: 10.1007/s00223-021-00893-6. Epub ahead of print.
PMID: 34382100.
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Wherry SJ, Blatchford PJ, Swanson CM, Wellington T, Boxer RS, Kohrt WM. Maintaining Serum Ionized Calcium during Brisk Walking Attenuates the Increase in Bone Resorption in Older Adults. Bone. 2021 Jul 9:116108. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2021.116108. Epub ahead of print.
PMID: 34252605.
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Depner CM, Rice JD, Tussey EJ, Eckel RH, Bergman BC, Higgins JA, Melanson EL, Kohrt WM, Wright K Jr, Swanson CM. Bone turnover marker responses to sleep restriction and weekend recovery sleep. Bone. 2021 Jun 30:116096. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2021.116096. Epub ahead of print.
PMID: 34216838.
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Mijakovac A, Jurić J, Kohrt WM, Krištić J, Kifer D, Gavin KM, Miškec K, Frkatović A, Vučković F, Pezer M, Vojta A, Nigrović PA, Zoldoš V, Lauc G. Effects of Estradiol on Immunoglobulin G Glycosylation: Mapping of the Downstream Signaling Mechanism. Front Immunol. 2021 May 25;12:680227. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.680227. PMCID: PMC8186398.
PMID: 34113353.
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Wherry SJ, Wolfe P, Schwartz RS, Kohrt WM, Jankowski CM. Ibuprofen taken before exercise blunts the IL-6 response in older adults but does not alter bone alkaline phosphatase or c-telopeptide. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2021 Apr 19. doi: 10.1007/s00421-021-04691-8. Epub ahead of print.
PMID: 33876259.
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Park YM, Jankowski CM, Swanson CM, Hildreth KL, Kohrt WM, Moreau KL. Bone Mineral Density in Different Menopause Stages is Associated with Follicle Stimulating Hormone Levels in Healthy Women. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jan 29;18(3):1200. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18031200.
PMID: 33572819.
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Sailer C, Edelmann H, Buchanan C, Giro P, Babcock M, Swanson C, Spotts M, Schulte M, Pratt-Cordova A, Coe G, Beindorff M, Page RL 2nd, Ambardekar AV, Pal JD, Kohrt W, Wolfel E, Lawley JS, Tarumi T, Cornwell WK 3rd. Impairments in Blood Pressure Regulation and Cardiac Baroreceptor Sensitivity Among Patients With Heart Failure Supported With Continuous-Flow Left Ventricular Assist Devices. Circ Heart Fail. 2021 Jan;14(1):e007448. doi: 10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.120.007448. Epub 2021 Jan 19. PMCID: PMC7818348.
PMID: 33464953.
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