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

A. Starnawska, Q. Tan, A. Lenart, M. McGue, O. Mors, A. D. Børglum, K. Christensen, M. Nyegaard, L. Christiansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-63
Number of pages4
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Volume50
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

Keywords

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

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    Starnawska, A., Tan, Q., Lenart, A., McGue, M., Mors, O., Børglum, A. D., Christensen, K., Nyegaard, M., & Christiansen, L. (2017). Blood DNA methylation age is not associated with cognitive functioning in middle-aged monozygotic twins. Neurobiology of Aging, 50, 60-63. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2016.10.025