Epigenetic Aging Is Associated With Measures of Midlife Muscle Volume and Attenuation in CARDIA Study

Tao Gao, Yinan Zheng, Brian T. Joyce, Minjung Kho, James G. Terry, Jun Wang, Drew Nannini, John Jeffrey Carr, Sangeeta Nair, Kai Zhang, Wei Zhao, David R. Jacobs, Pamela Schreiner, Philip Greenland, Donald Lloyd-Jones, Jennifer A. Smith, Lifang Hou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: GrimAge acceleration (GAA), an epigenetic marker that represents physiologic aging, is associated with age-related diseases including cancer and cardiovascular diseases. However, the associations between GAA and muscle mass and function are unknown. METHODS: We estimated measures of GAA in 1 118 Black and White participants from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study at exam years (Y) 15 (2000-2001) and 20 (2005-2006). Abdominal muscle composition was measured using CT scans at the Y25 (2010-2011) visit. We used multivariate regression models to examine associations of GAA estimates with muscle imaging measurements. RESULTS: In the CARDIA study, each 1-year higher GAA was associated with an average 1.1% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.6%, 1.5%) higher intermuscular adipose tissue (IMAT) volume for abdominal muscles. Each 1-year higher GAA was associated with an average -0.089 Hounsfield unit (HU; 95% CI: -0.146, -0.032) lower lean muscle attenuation and an average -0.049 HU (95% CI: -0.092, -0.007) lower IMAT attenuation for abdominal muscles. Stratified analyses showed that GAA was more strongly associated with higher abdominal muscle IMAT volume in females and significantly associated with lower lean muscle attenuation for White participants only. CONCLUSIONS: Higher GAA is associated with higher abdominal muscle IMAT volume and lower lean muscle attenuation in a midlife population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalThe journals of gerontology. Series A, Biological sciences and medical sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2024

Bibliographical note

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© The Author(s) 2023. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.


  • GrimAge acceleration
  • Intermuscular adipose tissue
  • Lean muscle attenuation

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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