Correlations Between the Gut Microbiome and Epigenetic Age Acceleration

Both epigenetic clocks to measure biological age and the impact of the gut microbiome on long-term health and aging are areas of active and ongoing research. So naturally there will be studies linking the two, attempting to show correlations between specific age-related changes in the microbial populations of the gut and measures of biological age such as epigenetic clocks based on DNA methylation. At some point this will lead to, most likely, some form of aggressive, high-dose, complicated probiotic therapy consisting of many different microbial species that will result in an optimal gut microbiome, reducing inflammation and the production of harmful metabolites in older individuals. Before that emerges, however, the fecal microbiota transplant of a healthy young microbiome into an older individual appears workable, readily available, and beneficial, given the evidence to date.

The causal relationship between gut microbiota and DNA methylation phenotypic age acceleration remains unclear. This study aims to examine the causal effect of gut microbiota on the acceleration of DNA methylation phenotypic age using Mendelian randomization. A total of 212 gut microbiota were included in this study, and their 16S rRNA sequencing data were obtained from the Genome-wide Association Study (GWAS) database. The GWAS data corresponding to DNA methylation phenotypic age acceleration were selected as the outcome variable. Two-sample Mendelian randomization (TSMR) was conducted.

The results from inverse-variance weighting (IVW) analysis revealed significant associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) corresponding to 16 gut microbiota species and DNA methylation phenotypic age acceleration. Out of the total, 12 gut microbiota species exhibited consistent and robust causal effects. Among them, 7 displayed a significant positive correlation with the outcome while 5 species showed a significant negative correlation with the outcome. This study utilized Mendelian randomization to unravel the intricate causal effects of various gut microbiota species on DNA methylation phenotypic age acceleration.