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Neurobiol Aging. 2017 Feb;50:60-63. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2016.10.025. Epub 2016 Nov 4.

Blood DNA methylation age is not associated with cognitive functioning in middle-aged monozygotic twins.

Author information

1
Department of Biomedicine, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark; The Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research, iPSYCH, Aarhus, Denmark; Center for Integrative Sequencing, iSEQ, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark. Electronic address: as@biomed.au.dk.
2
The Danish Aging Research Center, and The Danish Twin Registry, Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark; Department of Clinical Genetics, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark.
3
Max Planck Odense Center on the Biodemography of Aging, Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.
4
The Danish Aging Research Center, and The Danish Twin Registry, Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark; Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.
5
The Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research, iPSYCH, Aarhus, Denmark; Psychosis Research Unit, Aarhus University Hospital, Risskov, Denmark.
6
Department of Biomedicine, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark; The Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research, iPSYCH, Aarhus, Denmark; Center for Integrative Sequencing, iSEQ, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.
7
The Danish Aging Research Center, and The Danish Twin Registry, Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark; Department of Clinical Genetics, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark; Department of Clinical Biochemistry and Pharmacology, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark.
8
The Danish Aging Research Center, and The Danish Twin Registry, Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.

Abstract

The epigenetic clock, also known as DNA methylation age (DNAmAge), represents age-related changes of DNA methylation at multiple sites of the genome and is suggested to be a biomarker for biological age. Elevated blood DNAmAge is associated with all-cause mortality, with the strongest effects reported in a recent intrapair twin study where epigenetically older twins had increased mortality risk in comparison to their co-twins. In the study presented here, we hypothesize that DNAmAge in blood is associated with cross-sectional and longitudinal cognitive abilities in middle-aged individuals. In 486 monozygotic twins, we investigated the association of DNAmAge, difference between DNAmAge and chronological age and age acceleration with cognition. Despite using a powerful paired twin design, we found no evidence for association of blood DNAmAge with cognitive abilities. This observation was confirmed in unpaired analyses, where DNAmAge initially correlated with cognitive abilities, until adjusting for chronological age. Overall, our study shows that for middle-aged individuals DNAmAge calculated in blood does not correlate with cognitive abilities.

KEYWORDS:

Cognition; Cross-sectional; DNA methylation; Epigenetic clock; Longitudinal; Monozygotic twins; Whole blood

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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