Research Paper Volume 10, Issue 11 pp 3210—3228

Accelerated DNA methylation age and the use of antihypertensive medication among older adults

Xu Gao1, , Elena Colicino2, , Jincheng Shen3, , Allan C. Just2, , Jamaji C. Nwanaji-Enwerem4, , Cuicui Wang5, , Brent Coull5, , Xihong Lin6, , Pantel Vokonas7, , Yinan Zheng7, , Lifang Hou4, , Joel Schwartz1, , Andrea A. Baccarelli ,

  • 1 Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA
  • 2 Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY 10029, USA
  • 3 Department of Population Health Sciences, University of Utah, School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT 84132, USA
  • 4 Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA
  • 5 Department of Biostatistics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA
  • 6 Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study, Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118, USA
  • 7 Department of Preventive Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL 60611, USA

Received: August 3, 2018       Accepted: October 27, 2018       Published: November 10, 2018
How to Cite
This article has been corrected. See Correction. Aging (Albany NY). 2019; 11:2911-2911.

Copyright: Gao et al. This is an open‐access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


The discrepancy of DNA methylation age (DNAmAge) with chronological age (termed as age acceleration, AA) has been identified to be associated with many aging-related health outcomes including hypertension. Since taking antihypertensive medication (AHM) could prevent aging-related diseases caused by hypertension, we hypothesized that using AHM could also reduce the AA. We examined this hypothesis among 546 males aged 55–85 years by exploring the associations of AHM use with AA and its change rate (ΔAA) in two visits with a median follow-up of 3.86 years. Horvath DNAmAge was derived from DNA methylation profiles measured by Illumina HumanMethylation450 BeadChip and information on AHM use was collected by physician interview. A general decreasing pattern of AA was observed between the two visits. After the fully adjusting for potential covariates including hypertension, any AHM use showed a cross-sectional significant association with higher AA at each visit, as well as a longitudinal association with increased ΔAA between visits. Particularly, relative to participants who never took any AHM, individuals with continuous AHM use had a higher ΔAA of 0.6 year/chronological year. This finding underlines that DNAmAge and AA may not be able to capture the preventive effects of AHMs that reduce cardiovascular risks and mortality.


DNAmAge: DNA methylation age; AA: age acceleration; ΔAA: change rate of age acceleration; AHM: antihypertensive medication; CVD: cardiovascular disease; CpG: cytosine-phosphate-guanine; BMI: body mass index; HDL: high-density lipoprotein; NAS: Normative Aging Study; SBP: systolic blood pressure; DBP: diastolic blood pressure; CHD: Coronary heart disease; IPW: inverse probability weighting; ADRs: adverse drug reactions; DNAmPhenoAge: DNA methylation Phenotypic age.