Surrounding Greenness and Biological Aging Based on DNA Methylation: A Twin and Family Study in Australia.

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Xu, Rongbin 
Li, Shuai 
Li, Shanshan 
Wong, Ee Ming 
Southey, Melissa C 

BACKGROUND: High surrounding greenness has many health benefits and might contribute to slower biological aging. However, very few studies have evaluated this from the perspective of epigenetics. OBJECTIVES: We aimed to evaluate the association between surrounding greenness and biological aging based on DNA methylation. METHODS: We derived Horvath's DNA methylation age (DNAmAge), Hannum's DNAmAge, PhenoAge, and GrimAge based on DNA methylation measured in peripheral blood samples from 479 Australian women in 130 families. Measures of DNAmAge acceleration (DNAmAgeAC) were derived from the residuals after regressing each DNAmAge metric on chronological age. Greenness was represented by satellite-derived Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) metrics within 300-, 500-, 1,000-, and 2,000-m buffers surrounding participant addresses. Greenness-DNAmAgeAC associations were estimated using a within-sibship design fitted by linear mixed effect models, adjusting for familial clustering and important covariates. RESULTS: Greenness metrics were associated with significantly lower DNAmAgeAC based on GrimAge acceleration, suggesting slower biological aging with higher greenness based on both NDVI and EVI in 300-2,000m buffer areas. For example, each interquartile range increase in NDVI within 1,000m was associated with a 0.59 (95% CI: 0.18, 1.01)-year decrease in GrimAge acceleration. Greenness was also inversely associated with three of the eight components of GrimAge, specifically, DNA methylation-based surrogates of serum cystatin-C, serum growth differentiation factor 15, and smoking pack years. Associations between greenness and biological aging measured by Horvath's and Hannum's DNAmAgeAC were less consistent, and depended on neighborhood socioeconomic status. No significant associations were estimated for PhenoAge acceleration. DISCUSSION: Higher surrounding greenness was associated with slower biological aging, as indicated by GrimAge age acceleration, in Australian women. Associations were also evident for three individual components of GrimAge, but were inconsistent for other measures of biological aging. Additional studies are needed to confirm our results.

Aging, Australia, DNA Methylation, Epigenesis, Genetic, Epigenomics, Female, Humans
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Environ Health Perspect
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Environmental Health Perspectives