Association of obesity with DNA methylation age acceleration in african American mothers from the interGEN study

Chengchen Li, Zeyuan Wang, Theresa Hardy, Yunfeng Huang, Qin Hui, Cindy A. Crusto, Michelle L. Wright, Jacquelyn Y. Taylor, Yan V. Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


African American women are affected by earlier onset of age-associated health deteriorations and obesity disproportionally, but little is known about the mechanism linking body mass index (BMI) and biological aging among this population. DNA methylation age acceleration (DNAm AA), measuring the difference between DNA methylation age and chronological age, is a novel biomarker of the biological aging process, and predicts aging-related disease outcomes. The present study estimated cross-tissue DNA methylation age acceleration using saliva samples from 232 African American mothers. Cross-sectional regression analyses were performed to assess the association of BMI with DNAm AA. The average chronological age and DNA methylation age were 31.67 years, and 28.79 years, respectively. After adjusting for smoking, hypertension diagnosis history, and socioeconomic factors (education, marital status, household income), a 1 kg/m2 increase in BMI is associated with 0.14 years increment of DNAm AA (95% CI: (0.08, 0.21)). The conclusion: in African American women, high BMI is independently associated with saliva-based DNA methylation age acceleration, after adjusting for smoking, hypertension, and socioeconomic status. This finding supports that high BMI accelerates biological aging, and plays a key role in age-related disease outcomes among African American women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4273
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • African American
  • Aging
  • BMI
  • DNA methylation age acceleration
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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