Epigenetic clock indicates accelerated aging in glial cells of progressive multiple sclerosis patients

Lara Kular, Dennis Klose, Amaya Urdánoz-Casado, Ewoud Ewing, Nuria Planell, David Gomez-Cabrero, Maria Needhamsen, Maja Jagodic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory neurodegenerative disease of the central nervous system (CNS) characterized by irreversible disability at later progressive stages. A growing body of evidence suggests that disease progression depends on age and inflammation within the CNS. We aimed to investigate epigenetic aging in bulk brain tissue and sorted nuclei from MS patients using DNA methylation-based epigenetic clocks. Methods: We applied Horvath’s multi-tissue and Shireby’s brain-specific Cortical clock on bulk brain tissue (n = 46), sorted neuronal (n = 54), and glial nuclei (n = 66) from post-mortem brain tissue of progressive MS patients and controls. Results: We found a significant increase in age acceleration residuals, corresponding to 3.6 years, in glial cells of MS patients compared to controls (P = 0.0024) using the Cortical clock, which held after adjustment for covariates (Padj = 0.0263). The 4.8-year age acceleration found in MS neurons (P = 0.0054) did not withstand adjustment for covariates and no significant difference in age acceleration residuals was observed in bulk brain tissue between MS patients and controls. Conclusion: While the findings warrant replication in larger cohorts, our study suggests that glial cells of progressive MS patients exhibit accelerated biological aging.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFrontiers in Aging Neuroscience
StatePublished - Aug 24 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Aging

Cite this