Behind the Study: Epigenetic Clocks Association with Perceived Discrimination, Depressive Symptoms



September 20, 2022

  • Share
  • Dr. May Beydoun from the Laboratory of Epidemiology and Population Sciences, NIA/NIH/IRP, in Baltimore, MD, discusses a research paper she co-authored that was published by Aging (Aging-US) as the cover for Volume 14, Issue 13, entitled, “Epigenetic clocks and their association with trajectories in perceived discrimination and depressive symptoms among US middle-aged and older adults.” DOI - Corresponding author - May A. Beydoun - Abstract Background: Perceived discrimination may be associated with accelerated aging later in life, with depressive symptoms acting as potential mediator. Methods: A nationally representative sample of older adults was used [Health and Retirement Study 2010–2016, Age: 50–100 y in 2016, N = 2,806, 55.6% female, 82.3% Non-Hispanic White (NHW)] to evaluate associations of perceived discrimination measures [Experience of discrimination or EOD; and Reasons for Perceived discrimination or RPD) and depressive symptoms (DEP)] with 13 DNAm-based measures of epigenetic aging. Group-based trajectory and four-way mediation analyses were used. Results: Overall, and mostly among female and NHW participants, greater RPD in 2010–2012 had a significant adverse total effect on epigenetic aging [2016: DNAm GrimAge, DunedinPoAm38 (MPOA), Levine (PhenoAge) and Horvath 2], with 20–50% of this effect being explained by a pure indirect effect through DEP in 2014–2016. Among females, sustained elevated DEP (2010–2016) was associated with greater LIN DNAm age (β ± SE: +1.506 ± 0.559, p = 0.009, reduced model), patterns observed for elevated DEP (high vs. low) for GrimAge and MPOA DNAm markers. Overall and in White adults, the relationship of the Levine clock with perceived discrimination in general (both EOD and RPD) was mediated through elevated DEP. Conclusions: Sustained elevations in DEP and RPD were associated with select biological aging measures, consistently among women and White adults, with DEP acting as mediator in several RPD-EPICLOCK associations. Sign up for free Altmetric alerts about this article - Press release - Keywords - aging, DNA methylation, epigenetic clocks, biological age, perceived discrimination, depressive symptoms About Aging-US Launched in 2009, Aging-US publishes papers of general interest and biological significance in all fields of aging research and age-related diseases, including cancer—and now, with a special focus on COVID-19 vulnerability as an age-dependent syndrome. Topics in Aging-US go beyond traditional gerontology, including, but not limited to, cellular and molecular biology, human age-related diseases, pathology in model organisms, signal transduction pathways (e.g., p53, sirtuins, and PI-3K/AKT/mTOR, among others), and approaches to modulating these signaling pathways. Please visit our website at​​ and connect with us: SoundCloud - Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - YouTube -​ LinkedIn - Pinterest - Media Contact 18009220957 MEDIA@IMPACTJOURNALS.COM

    Analytical TechniquesBioprocessingCell ScienceMolecular Biology

    Keep up to date with all your favourite videos and channels.

    Get personalised notifications on new releases and channel content by subscribing to the LabTube eNewsletter.