Markers of aging: Unsupervised integrated analyses of the human plasma proteome

L Coenen, B Lehallier, Helga de Vries, J Middeldorp

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Aging associates with an increased susceptibility for disease and decreased quality of life. To date, processes underlying aging are still not well understood, leading to limited interventions with unknown mechanisms to promote healthy aging. Previous research suggests that changes in the blood proteome are reflective of age-associated phenotypes such as frailty. Moreover, experimentally induced changes in the blood proteome composition can accelerate or decelerate underlying aging processes. The aim of this study is to identify a set of proteins in the human plasma associated with aging by integration of the data of four independent, large-scaled datasets using the aptamer-based SomaScan platform on the human aging plasma proteome. Using this approach, we identified a set of 273 plasma proteins significantly associated with aging (aging proteins, APs) across these cohorts consisting of healthy individuals and individuals with comorbidities and highlight their biological functions. We validated the age-associated effects in an independent study using a centenarian population, showing highly concordant effects. Our results suggest that APs are more associated to diseases than other plasma proteins. Plasma levels of APs can predict chronological age, and a reduced selection of 15 APs can still predict individuals' age accurately, highlighting their potential as biomarkers of aging processes. Furthermore, we show that individuals presenting accelerated or decelerated aging based on their plasma proteome, respectively have a more aged or younger systemic environment. These results provide novel insights in the understanding of the aging process and its underlying mechanisms and highlight potential modulators contributing to healthy aging.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1112109
Pages (from-to)1112109
JournalFrontiers in aging
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • SomaScan
  • aging
  • blood
  • disease
  • health
  • plasma
  • proteomics

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