Assessment of candidate ocular biomarkers of ageing in a South African adult population: relationship with chronological age and systemic biomarkers.
Certain anatomic and functional parameters of the eye change with increasing chronological age. They may, therefore, serve as potential biomarkers of ageing. We investigated associations between four such ocular parameters (lens density, retinal vessel calibre, corneal endothelial cells and retinal nerve fibre layer thickness) and two 'cellular' biomarkers of ageing (leukocyte telomere length and CDKN2A expression), with frailty (a clinical correlate of biological ageing) in a population of South African adults. All ocular parameters revealed an association with either telomere length or CDKN2A expression. However, lens density was most strongly correlated with age, increased CDKN2A expression, and with frailty (p=0.05 and 0.03, respectively). Narrow retinal arteriolar diameter, associated with increased chronological age, was also associated with increased CDK2NA expression (0.42 vs. 0.31, p=0.02) but not with frailty. Ocular parameters may aid in determining biological age, warranting investigation in longitudinal studies.
Pathai, S; Gilbert, CE; Lawn, SD; Weiss, HA; Peto, T; Cook, C; Wong, TY; Shiels, PG
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