Background: Measures to quantify changes in the pace of biological aging in response to intervention are needed to evaluate geroprotective interventions for humans. Previously we showed that quantification of the pace of biological aging from a DNA-methylation blood test was possible (Belsky et al. 2020). Here we report a next-generation DNA-methylation biomarker of Pace of Aging, DunedinPACE (for Pace of Aging Calculated from the Epigenome).
Methods: We used data from the Dunedin Study 1972-3 birth cohort tracking within-individual decline in 19 indicators of organ-system integrity across four time points spanning two decades to model Pace of Aging. We distilled this two-decade Pace of Aging into a single-time-point DNA-methylation blood-test using elastic-net regression and a DNA-methylation dataset restricted to exclude probes with low test-retest reliability. We evaluated the resulting measure, named DunedinPACE, in five additional datasets.
Results: DunedinPACE showed high test-retest reliability, was associated with morbidity, disability, and mortality, and indicated faster aging in young adults with childhood adversity. DunedinPACE effect-sizes were similar to GrimAge Clock effect-sizes. In analysis of incident morbidity, disability, and mortality, DunedinPACE and added incremental prediction beyond GrimAge.
Conclusions: DunedinPACE is a novel blood biomarker of the pace of aging for gerontology and geroscience.
Funding: This research was supported by US-National Institute on Aging grants AG032282, AG061378, AG066887, and UK Medical Research Council grant MR/P005918/1.
DunedinPACE Data Availability StatementDatasets are available from the data owners. Data from the Dunedin and E-Risk Study can be accessed through agreement with the Study investigators. Instructions are available at https://sites.google.com/site/moffittcaspiprojects/. The data access application form can be downloaded here: https://sites.google.com/site/moffittcaspiprojects/forms-for-new-projects/concept-paper-template.Data from the Understanding Society Study is available through METADAC at https://www.metadac.ac.uk/ukhls/. All details are on the Metadac website (https://www.metadac.ac.uk/data-access-through-metadac/). The data access application form can be found here https://www.metadac.ac.uk/files/2019/02/v2.41-UKHLS-METADAC-application-form-2019-2hak8bv.docx.Data from the Normative Aging Study were obtained from the Study investigators. Data are accessible through dbGaP, accession phs000853.v1.p1.Data from the Framingham Heart Study were obtained from dbGaP, accession phs000007.v32.p13.GSE55763 is a publicly available dataset available from the Gene Expression Omnibus (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/geo/query/acc.cgi?acc=GSE55763).
- Daniel W Belsky
- Avshalom Caspi
- Terrie E Moffitt
- Terrie E Moffitt
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Joris Deelen, Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, Germany
This is an open-access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.
Although there are several efficacious vaccines against COVID-19, vaccination rates in many regions around the world remain insufficient to prevent continued high disease burden and emergence of viral variants. Repurposing of existing therapeutics that prevent or mitigate severe COVID-19 could help to address these challenges. The objective of this study was to determine whether prior use of bisphosphonates is associated with reduced incidence and/or severity of COVID-19.
A retrospective cohort study utilizing payer-complete health insurance claims data from 8,239,790 patients with continuous medical and prescription insurance January 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020 was performed. The primary exposure of interest was use of any bisphosphonate from January 1, 2019 to February 29, 2020. Bisphosphonate users were identified as patients having at least one bisphosphonate claim during this period, who were then 1:1 propensity score-matched to bisphosphonate non-users by age, gender, insurance type, primary-care-provider visit in 2019, and comorbidity burden. Main outcomes of interest included: (a) any testing for SARS-CoV-2 infection; (b) COVID-19 diagnosis; and (c) hospitalization with a COVID-19 diagnosis between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2020. Multiple sensitivity analyses were also performed to assess core study outcomes amongst more restrictive matches between BP users/non-users, as well as assessing the relationship between BP-use and other respiratory infections (pneumonia, acute bronchitis) both during the same study period as well as before the COVID outbreak.
A total of 7,906,603 patients for whom continuous medical and prescription insurance information was available were selected. A total of 450,366 bisphosphonate users were identified and 1:1 propensity score-matched to bisphosphonate non-users. Bisphosphonate users had lower odds ratios (OR) of testing for SARS-CoV-2 infection (OR = 0.22; 95%CI:0.21–0.23; p<0.001), COVID-19 diagnosis (OR = 0.23; 95%CI:0.22–0.24; p<0.001), and COVID-19-related hospitalization (OR = 0.26; 95%CI:0.24–0.29; p<0.001). Sensitivity analyses yielded results consistent with the primary analysis. Bisphosphonate-use was also associated with decreased odds of acute bronchitis (OR = 0.23; 95%CI:0.22–0.23; p<0.001) or pneumonia (OR = 0.32; 95%CI:0.31–0.34; p<0.001) in 2019, suggesting that bisphosphonates may protect against respiratory infections by a variety of pathogens, including but not limited to SARS-CoV-2.
Prior bisphosphonate-use was associated with dramatically reduced odds of SARS-CoV-2 testing, COVID-19 diagnosis, and COVID-19-related hospitalizations. Prospective clinical trials will be required to establish a causal role for bisphosphonate-use in COVID-19-related outcomes.
This study was supported by NIH grants, AR068383 and AI155865, a grant from MassCPR (to UHvA) and a CRI Irvington postdoctoral fellowship, CRI2453 (to PH).
A large observational study has found that irregular sleep-wake patterns are associated with a higher risk of overall mortality, and also mortality from cancers and cardiovascular disease.