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Systematic under-estimation of the epigenetic clock and age acceleration in older subjects

El Khoury, Louis Y and Gorrie-Stone, Tyler J and Smart, Melissa and Hughes, Amanda and Bao, Yanchun and Andrayas, Alexandria and Burrage, Joe and Hannon, Eilis and Kumari, Meena and Mill, Jonathan and Schalkwyk, Leonard (2019) 'Systematic under-estimation of the epigenetic clock and age acceleration in older subjects.' Genome Biology, 20. ISSN 1474-7596

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Abstract

Background: The Horvath epigenetic clock is widely used. It predicts age quite well from 353 CpG sites in the DNA methylation profile in unknown samples and has been used to calculate 'age acceleration’ in various tissues and environments. Results: The model systematically underestimates age in tissues from older people. This is seen in all examined tissues but most strongly in the cerebellum and is consistently observed in multiple datasets. Age acceleration is thus age-dependent, and this can lead to spurious associations. The current literature includes examples of association tests with age acceleration calculated in a wide variety of ways. Conclusions: The concept of an epigenetic clock is compelling, but caution should be taken in interpreting associations with age acceleration. Association tests of age acceleration should include age as a covariate.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Mathematical Sciences, Department of
Faculty of Science and Health > Life Sciences, School of
Faculty of Social Sciences > Institute for Social and Economic Research
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2020 20:05
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2020 20:05
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/26148

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