Obesity linked to accelerated liver aging

We know that obesity is directly linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, type II diabetes and many lifestyle cancers. Now the link to rapid liver aging has been revealed. 

This fascinating research followed Professor Steve Horvath’s ‘epigenetic aging clock’, which calculates the biological age of cells, tissues and human organs. It indicates the age by monitoring the ‘DNA methylation process’.

 The researchers found that:

  • For every 10 additional body mass index (BMI) units, the biological age of the liver “increased by 3.3 years”
  • Rapid weight loss through bariatric surgery “did not reverse short-term accelerated aging of the liver” 

“This does not sound like a lot, but it is actually a very strong effect. For some people, the age acceleration due to obesity will be up to 10 years older. The increased epigenetic age of liver tissue in obese individuals should provide insights into common liver-related comorbidities of obesity, such as insulin resistance and liver cancer. This is the first study that evaluated the effect of body weight on the biological ages of a variety of human tissues. Given the obesity epidemic in the Western world, the results of this study are highly relevant for public health”
Professor Steve Horvath, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California (UCLA), October 2014.

Study on almost 1,200 human tissue samples by Professor Steve Horvath and colleagues from the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California (UCLA), and German colleagues in the University Hospital Dresden, as published on October 13, 2014 in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).


Posted: Tuesday 18 November 2014