Long-term variability in physiological measures in relation to mortality and epigenetic aging: prospective studies in the USA and China

BMC Med. 2023 Jan 16;21(1):20. doi: 10.1186/s12916-022-02674-w.


BACKGROUND: Visit-to-visit body weight variability (BWV), pulse rate variability (PRV), and blood pressure variability (BPV) have been respectively linked to multiple health outcomes. The associations of the combination of long-term variability in physiological measures with mortality and epigenetic age acceleration (EAA) remain largely unknown.

METHODS: We constructed a composite score of physiological variability (0-3) of large variability in BWV, PRV, and BPV (the top tertiles) in 2006/2008-2014/2016 in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and 2011-2015 in the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS). All-cause mortality was documented through 2018. EAA was calculated using thirteen DNA methylation-based epigenetic clocks among 1047 participants in a substudy of the HRS. We assessed the relation of the composite score to the risk of mortality among 6566 participants in the HRS and 6906 participants in the CHARLS by Cox proportional models and then investigated its association with EAA using linear regression models.

RESULTS: A higher score of variability was associated with higher mortality risk in both cohorts (pooled hazard ratio [HR] per one-point increment, 1.27; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.18, 1.39; P-heterogeneity = 0.344), after adjustment for multiple confounders and baseline physiological measures. Specifically, each SD increment in BWV, PRV, and BPV was related to 21% (95% CI: 15%, 28%), 6% (0%, 13%), and 12% (4%, 19%) higher hazard of mortality, respectively. The composite score was significantly related to EAA in second-generation clocks trained on health outcomes (e.g., standardized coefficient = 0.126 in the Levine clock, 95% CI: 0.055, 0.196) but not in most first-generation clocks trained on chronological age.

CONCLUSIONS: Larger variability in physiological measures was associated with a higher risk of mortality and faster EAA.

PMID:36647101 | DOI:10.1186/s12916-022-02674-w

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