Associations of age, sex, race/ethnicity, and education with 13 epigenetic clocks in a nationally representative U.S. sample: The health and retirement study

Eileen M. Crimmins, Bharat Thyagarajan, Morgan E. Levine, David R. Weir, Jessica Faul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Many DNA methylation-based indicators have been developed as summary measures of epigenetic aging. We examine the associations between 13 epigenetic clocks, including 4 second generation clocks, as well as the links of the clocks to social, demographic, and behavioral factors known to be related to health outcomes: sex, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, obesity, and lifetime smoking pack-years. Methods: The Health and Retirement Study is the data source which is a nationally representative sample of Americans over age 50. Assessment of DNA methylation was based on the EPIC chip and epigenetic clocks were developed based on existing literature. Results: The clocks vary in the strength of their relationships with age, with each other and with independent variables. Second generation clocks trained on health-related characteristics tend to relate more strongly to the sociodemographic and health behaviors known to be associated with health outcomes in this age group. Conclusions: Users of this publicly available data set should be aware that epigenetic clocks vary in their relationships to age and to variables known to be related to the process of health change with age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1117-1123
Number of pages7
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Volume76
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - May 22 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institute on Aging (R01 AG AG060110). The Health and Retirement Study is supported by National Institute on Aging U01 AG009740.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America.

Keywords

  • DNA methylation
  • DunedinPoAm38
  • Epigenetic age
  • GrimAge
  • PhenoAgeAcceleration

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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