mRNA biomarkers of ageing in plasma samples


mRNA biomarkers of ageing in plasma samples


E Platt1; L Frost1; J Hartley1; S Rehman1; G Wilkinson1; G Marshall1
1 Medicines Discovery Catapult, UK


Biological age is a measure of an individual’s physiological health (as opposed to their chronological age in years) and may be accelerated by lifestyle choices, illness or severe trauma. Many pathways have been identified as associated with ageing, including mTOR signalling, autophagy and cellular senescence, however the mechanisms underlying ageing are still poorly understood. Elucidation of these mechanisms may allow us to identify potential drug targets to treat age-associated conditions such as multimorbidity, rheumatoid arthritis and Alzheimer's disease. 

In this study, as part of the UKSPINE network, mRNA was extracted from plasma samples collected from healthy individuals aged below 45 and above 65. These mRNA eluates were then tested on the Nanostring nCounter platform using a custom CodeSet of 409 genes associated with ageing. The results demonstrated that mRNA biomarkers could be reliably detected in plasma samples using the Nanostring nCounter platform and that samples clustered according to patient age, with virtually all pathways identified showing age-dependent regulation. Differentially expressed genes were identified between the samples collected from patients aged under 45 and over 65 and will be investigated further as potential prognostic markers of biological age along with potential drug targets to treat age-associated conditions.

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