Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Clin Epigenetics. 2016 Feb 26;8:21. doi: 10.1186/s13148-016-0186-5. eCollection 2016.

Frailty is associated with the epigenetic clock but not with telomere length in a German cohort.

Author information

1
German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Division of Clinical Epidemiology and Aging Research, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.
2
German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Division of Clinical Epidemiology and Aging Research, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany ; Network Aging Research, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.
3
Epidemiological Cancer Registry of Saarland, Saarbrücken, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The epigenetic clock, in particular epigenetic pre-aging quantified by the so-called DNA methylation age acceleration, has recently been suggested to closely correlate with a variety of disease phenotypes. There remains a dearth of data, however, on its association with telomere length and frailty, which can be considered major correlates of age on the genomic and clinical level, respectively.

RESULTS:

In this cross-sectional observational study on altogether 1820 subjects from two subsets (n = 969 and n = 851; mean ± standard deviation age 62.1 ± 6.5 and 63.0 ± 6.7 years, respectively) of the ESTHER cohort study of the elderly general population in Germany, DNA methylation age was calculated based on a 353 loci predictor previously developed in a large meta-study, and the difference-based epigenetic age acceleration was calculated as predicted methylation age minus chronological age. No correlation of epigenetic age acceleration with telomere length was found in our study (p = 0.63). However, there was an association of DNA methylation age acceleration with a comprehensive frailty measure, such that the accumulated deficits significantly increased with increasing age acceleration. Quantitatively, about half an additional deficit was added per 6 years of methylation age acceleration (p = 0.0004). This association was independent from age, sex, and estimated leukocyte distribution, as well as from a variety of other confounding variables considered.

CONCLUSIONS:

The results of the present study suggest that epigenetic age acceleration is correlated with clinically relevant aging-related phenotypes through pathways unrelated to cellular senescence as assessed by telomere length. Innovative approaches like Mendelian randomization will be needed to elucidate whether epigenetic age acceleration indeed plays a causal role for the development of clinical phenotypes.

KEYWORDS:

CpG methylation; Cross-sectional study; Epigenetic age acceleration; Frailty index; General population; Telomere length

PMID:
26925173
PMCID:
PMC4768341
DOI:
10.1186/s13148-016-0186-5
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center