julio 6, 2022 | Noticias | ,

The offspring share the centenarians’ unique genetic footprint

The offspring share the centenarians' unique genetic footprint

Genetic analysis of the offspring of centenarians reveals a specific genetic footprint that can explain why they are less frail than the offspring of non-centenarians of the same age. This is the main conclusion of a study led by the Spanish CIBER Consortium on Frailty and Healthy Ageing (CIBERFES), the Health Research Institute (INCLIVA), and the University of Valencia (UV), published by The Journals of Gerontology.

Centenarians exhibit extreme longevity and compression of morbidity and have a unique genetic signature, and their offspring seem to inherit their compression of morbidity, as measured by lower rates of age-related pathologies. The aim therefore of the work carried out by the team headed by José Viña has been to determine if the offspring of centenarians are less frail and if a “centenarian genetic footprint” exists.

To this end, a sample of 63 centenarians, 88 offspring of centenarians, and 88 offspring of non-centenarians from a health service area near Valencia was used. To take part in the study, the following conditions had to be met: living parents aged over 97, age between 65 and 80, and absence of terminal illnesses. In addition, the state of frailty was determined by the Fried Frailty Criteria, whereby a person is considered frail if they present unintentional weight loss, exhaustion, weakness (grip strength), slow walking speed, and low physical activity

According to one of the the study coordinators Consuelo Borrás: “Our findings show that the offspring of centenarians are less frail than their age-matched offspring of non-centenarians. We also collected plasma and peripheral blood mononuclear cells from the sampled individuals and found that the gene expression patterns (miRNA and mRNA) of the offspring of centenarians were more similar to the patterns found in centenarians than in those of offspring of the non-centenarians, despite having the same age.”

Therefore, the offspring of centenarians are less frail than the age-matched offspring of the non-centenarians, “and this can be explained by their unique genetic endowment,” claim the researchers.

This study, a pioneer in comparing functional profiles (states of frailty) and genetic profiles (miRNA and mRNA expression patterns) of the offspring of centenarians and non-centenarians reinforces, according to José Viña “the idea that the former are genetically different from their peers and resemble the unique genetic characteristics of centenarians, so our results may help to further progress in identifying key genetic and functional characteristics that can be considered biomarkers of successful ageing.”

Centenarians, an example of successful ageing.

The over-60s age group is growing faster than any other as a result of greater life expectancy and lower birth rates. Much research in this area has focused on increasing the number of years of disability-free life expectancy (useful life), frequently called “successful ageing”. Centenarians are considered model cases of this “successful ageing”, as they appear to largely avert or delay the onset of age-related diseases or geriatric syndromes, thus exhibiting a decelerated ageing trajectory.


 Link to reference article:

Functional transcriptomic analysis of centenarians’ offspring reveals a specific genetic footprint that may explain that they are less frail than age-matched non-centenarians’ offspring

Marta Inglés, Ángel Belenguer-Varea, Eva Serna, Cristina Mas-Bargues, Francisco J Tarazona-Santabalbina, Consuelo Borrás, Jose Viña. PMID: 35640160 DOI: 10.1093/gerona/glac119



 The Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red (Biomedical Research Networking Center) (CIBER) is a consortium under the Instituto de Salud Carlos III – Ministry of Science and Innovation – and is co-financed by ERDF. The research area of Frailty and Healthy Ageing (CIBERFES) was created at the end of 2016 with the aim of understanding, assessing, and mitigating, as far as possible, frailty and its main outcome – disability – which is suffered by many elderly people. The 20 research groups that form it, which belong to 18 Consortium Institutions, are working on four main lines of research: the study of the biological mechanisms of healthy ageing and of those that lead to frailty and disability; the use of cohorts to study the interaction between chronic illness, ageing, and functional deterioration; preventive and therapeutic interventions in frailty and functional deterioration; and care models.

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