BackgroundAging is a biological process strongly determined by genetics. However, only a few single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have been reported to be consistently associated with aging. While investigating whether copy number variations (CNVs) could fill this gap, we focused on CNVs that have not been studied in previous SNP-based searches via tagging SNPs.MethodsTaqMan qPCR assays were developed to quantify 20 common CNVs in 222 senior American Caucasians in order to reveal possible association with longevity. The replication study was comprised of 1283 community-dwelling senior European Caucasians. Replicated CNVs were further investigated for association with healthy aging and aging-related diseases, while association with longevity was additionally tested in Caenorhabditis elegans.ResultsIn the discovery study of ≥80 vs.<80 years old seniors, a homozygous intronic CNV deletion in the CNTNAP4 gene was inversely associated with survival to the age of 80 (OR=0.51, 95%CI 0.29-0.87, p=0.015 before correction for multiple testing). After stratification by sex, association remained significant in females (OR=0.41, 95%CI 0.21-0.77, p=0.007), but not in males (OR=0.97, 95%CI 0.33-2.79, p=1). The finding was validated in a replication study (OR=0.66, 95%CI 0.48-0.90, p=0.011 for females). CNTNAP4 association with longevity was supported by a marked 25% lifespan change in C. elegans after knocking down the ortholog gene. An inverse association of the CNV del/del variant with female healthy aging was observed (OR=0.39, 95%CI 0.19-0.76, p=0.006). A corresponding positive association with aging-related diseases was revealed for cognitive impairment (OR=2.17, 95%CI 1.11-4.22, p=0.024) and, in independent studies, for Alzheimer’s (OR=4.07, 95%CI 1.17-14.14, p=0.036) and Parkinson’s (OR=1.59, 95%CI 1.03-2.42, p=0.041) diseases.ConclusionThis is the first demonstration for association of the CNTNAP4 gene and one of its intronic CNV polymorphisms with aging. Association with particular aging-related diseases awaits replication and independent validation.
Background: New therapeutic targets are needed to fight aging-related diseases and increase life span. A new female-specific association with diseases and limited survival past 80 years was recently reported for a copy number variation (CNV) in the CNTNAP4 gene from the neurexin superfamily. Objective: We asked whether there are CNVs that are associated with aging phenotypes within other genes from the neurexin superfamily and whether this association is sex specific. Methods: Select CNV polymorphisms were genotyped with proprietary TaqMan qPCR assays. Results: A case/control study, in which a group of 81- to 90-year-old community-dwelling Caucasians with no chronic diseases (case) was compared to a similar control group of 65- to 75-year-olds, revealed a negative association with healthy aging for the ins allele of common esv11910 CNV in the CNTNAP2 gene (n = 388; OR = 0.29, 95% CI: 0.14-0.59, p = 0.0004 for males, and OR = 0.82, 95% CI: 0.42-1.57, p = 0.625 for females). This male-specific association was validated in a study of an independent group of 76- to 80-year-olds. To look for a corresponding positive association of the allele with aging-related diseases, two case subgroups of 81- to 90-year-olds, one composed of individuals with cognitive impairment and the other with various diseases not directly related to the nervous system, such as cardiovascular diseases, etc., were compared to a healthy control subgroup of the same age. A positive male-specific association was found for both cases (OR = 2.75, p = 0.008 for association with cognitive impairment, and OR = 3.18, p = 0.002 for other diseases combined). Conclusions: A new male-specific association with aging is reported for a CNV in the CNTNAP2 gene. The polymorphism might be useful for diagnosing individual genetic predispositions to healthy aging versus aging complicated by chronic diseases.
BackgroundThe cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) polymorphism I405V has been suggested to be involved in longevity and susceptibility to cardiovascular diseases. An enhanced reverse cholesterol transport due to enhanced HDL levels has been hypothesized to be the underlying mechanism. However, clinical trials with HDL-enhancing drugs failed to show beneficial effects. Consequently, it has been postulated that genetic variations enhancing HDL levels are cardioprotective only if they also decrease LDL levels.MethodsA cross-sectional study was conducted to genotype 1028 healthy blood donors and 1517 clinically well characterized elderly for CETP I405V.ResultsWe could not find any association of this polymorphism with age for both, males or females, in any of these cohorts (P = 0.71 and P = 0.57, respectively, for males and P = 0.55 and P = 0.88, respectively, for females). In addition, no association with cardiovascular diseases could be observed in the elderly cohort (males OR = 1.12 and females OR = 0.88). In the same cohort, the CETP V405V genotype was associated with significantly enhanced HDL levels (P = 0.03), mostly owing to the female sex (P = 0.46 for males, P = 0.02 for females), whereas LDL and triglyceride levels were unchanged (P = 0.62 and P = 0.18, respectively).ConclusionOur data support the recent hypothesis that variations enhancing HDL levels without affecting LDL levels are not associated with the risk for cardiovascular diseases.
BackgroundTo investigate mechanisms that determine healthy aging is of major interest in the modern world marked by longer life expectancies. In addition to lifestyle and environmental factors genetic factors also play an important role in aging phenotypes. The aged immune system is characterized by a chronic micro-inflammation, known as inflamm-aging, that is suspected to trigger the onset of age-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 (DMT2). We have recently shown that a Toll-like receptor 6 variant (P249S) is associated with susceptibility to cardiovascular disease and speculated that this variant may also be associated with healthy aging in general by decreasing the process of inflamm-aging.ResultsAnalyzing the PolSenior cohort we show here that nonsmoking S allele carriers are significantly protected from age-related diseases (P = 0.008, OR: 0.654). This association depends not only on the association with cardiovascular diseases (P = 0.018, OR: 0.483) for homozygous S allele carriers, but is also driven by a protection from Diabetes Mellitus type 2 (P = 0.010, OR: 0.486) for S allele carriers. In addition we detect a trend but no significant association of this allele with inflamm-aging in terms of baseline IL-6 levels.ConclusionWe confirm our previous finding of the TLR-6 249S variant to be protective regarding cardiovascular diseases. Furthermore, we present first evidence of TLR-6 249S being involved in DMT2 susceptibility and may be in general associated with healthy aging possibly by reducing the process of inflamm-aging.
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