DNA methylation age and perceived age in elderly Danish twins

Birgit Debrabant, Mette Soerensen, Lene Christiansen, Qihua Tan, Matt McGue, Kaare Christensen, Jacob Hjelmborg

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5 Scopus citations


Perceived age is an easily accessible biomarker of aging. Here, we studied its relation to DNA methylation age (DNAm age) as introduced in (Horvath, 2013) in 180 elderly Danish twins. We found perceived age and DNAm age to be associated with chronological age (P = 0.04 resp. P = 2.2e-10) when correcting for gender, but did not see an association between perceived age and DNAm age (P = 0.44). Intrapair-analysis showed that the proportion of pairs where the twin with the highest perceived age also had the highest DNAm age was not different from 0.5 (P = 1), and we did not see a trend when dividing pairs according to their difference in perceived age (P = 0.36). Hence, intrapair analysis did not reveal links between perceived age and DNAm age. Moreover, none of the 353 CpGs underlying DNAm age was individually associated with perceived age after correction for multiple-testing (P > 6e-4, FDR > 0.21). Finally, when constructing an epigenetic signature based on these CpGs to predict perceived age, we only found a correlation of 0.18 (95%CI: −0.06 to 0.40) and a mean square error of 13.6 years2 between observed and predicted values in the test dataset, indicating poor predictive strength. Altogether, our results suggest that perceived age and DNAm age capture different aging aspects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-44
Number of pages5
JournalMechanisms of Ageing and Development
StatePublished - Jan 2018

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    Debrabant, B., Soerensen, M., Christiansen, L., Tan, Q., McGue, M., Christensen, K., & Hjelmborg, J. (2018). DNA methylation age and perceived age in elderly Danish twins. Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, 169, 40-44. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mad.2017.09.004