London: Scientists have found that new metabolites in blood, which are a result of early molecular changes before birth or in infancy, could provide clues to a person's long-term overall health and rate of ageing. (Agencies)
The international study of twins, led by King's College London highlights how a technique called metabolic profiling has revealed a collection of 22 metabolites linked to ageing.
One of these, linked to ageing traits such as lung function and bone mineral density, is also strongly associated with birth-weight, a well-known developmental determinant of healthy ageing.
The finding suggests that levels of this novel metabolite, which may be determined in the womb and affected by nutrition during development, could reflect accelerated ageing in later adult life.
Scientists say the findings show it is possible that these markers of ageing can be identified with simple blood tests in the future, which may provide further clues to the ageing process and could pave the way for development of therapies to treat age-related conditions.
Professor Tim Spector, Head of the Department of Twin Research at King's College, London, said, "Scientists have known for a long time that a person's weight at the time of birth is an important determinant of health in middle and old age, and that people with low birth weight are more susceptible to age related diseases.
“So far, the molecular mechanisms that link low birth weight to health or disease in old age had remained elusive, but this discovery has revealed one of the molecular pathways involved,” he said.
Funded by the European Commission, Researchers from the Department of Twin Research at King's college carried out metabolic profiling, the study of metabolites that specific cellular processes or changes leave behind in the blood.
Analysing blood samples donated by over 6,000 twins, they identified 22 metabolites directly linked to chronological age. The concentrations of the metabolites were higher in older people than in younger people.
One particular metabolite C-glyTrp is associated with a range of age-related traits such as lung function, bone mineral density, cholesterol and blood pressure.
Its role in ageing is completely novel. Crucially, researchers found it was also associated with lower weight at birth when they compared the birth weights of identical twins.
London: Scientists have found that new metabolites in blood, which are a result of early molecular changes before birth or in infancy, could provide clues to a person's long-term overall health and rate of ageing.