Cellular aging over 13 years associated with incident antinuclear antibody positivity in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging

Helen C.S. Meier, Christine G. Parks, Hans B. Liu, Dale P. Sandler, Eleanor M. Simonsick, Kevin Deane, Nan ping Weng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Age-associated increases in antinuclear antibodies (ANA) in the general population are commonly noted but the mechanisms underlying this observation are unclear. This study aims to evaluate whether shorter peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) telomere length, a marker of more advanced biological age, is associated with ANA positivity prevalence and incidence in middle and older aged autoimmune disease-free individuals from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA). Telomere length was measured by Southern Blot and categorized into tertiles. ANA was measured in a 1:80 and a 1:160 dilution of sera by immunofluorescence using HEp-2 cells (seropositive = 3 or 4). Multiple logistic regression was used to estimate the odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals of ANA positivity comparing the shorter tertiles of telomere length to the longest tertile for two cross-sectional points in time and then longitudinally to assess the association between shorter telomere length and incident ANA positivity. Cross-sectional analyses were adjusted for sex, race and BMI (N = 368 baseline, N = 370 follow-up) and longitudinal analyses were adjusted for sex, race, BMI and time between baseline and follow-up (N = 246). No statistically significant cross-sectional associations were observed at baseline or follow-up. Among those where ANA negative at baseline, individuals with shorter telomeres were more likely to be ANA positive at follow-up, an average 13 years later. Individuals with short telomeres at both time periods were more likely to be ANA positive. Findings suggest that ANA positivity in the general population may be indicative of immune dysfunction resulting from advanced cellular aging processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102295
JournalJournal of Autoimmunity
Volume105
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Antinuclear antibodies
  • Autoimmunity
  • Epidemiology
  • Immune aging
  • Telomere length

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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