The role of lipid-related genes, aging-related processes, and environment in healthspan


The inherent complexity of aging-related traits can temper progress in unraveling the genetic origins of healthspan. We focus on two generations in the Framingham Heart Study, the original (FHS) and offspring (FHSO) cohorts, to determine whether aging-related processes in changing environments can substantially impact the role of lipid-related genes discovered in candidate gene (the apolipoprotein E (APOE) e2/3/4 polymorphism) and genome-wide (the APOB rs1042034 (C/T)) studies, in regulation of total cholesterol (TC) and onset of cardiovascular disease (CVD). We demonstrate that the APOE e4 allele and APOB CC genotype can play detrimental, neutral, and protective sexspecific roles in the etiology of CVD at different ages and in different environments. We document antagonistic roles for the e4 allele in the onset of CVD characterized by detrimental effects at younger ages (RR≤ 75 years = 1.49, P = 7.5×104) and protective effects at older ages (RR76+years = 0.77, P = 0.044) for FHS participants. We found that disregarding the role of aging erroneously nullifies the significant effects of the e4 allele in this sample (RR = 0.92, P = 0.387). The leading biogenetic pathways mediating genetic effects on CVD may be more relevant to lipid metabolism for APOB than APOE. Aging-related processes can modulate the strength of genetic associations with TC in the same individuals at different chronological ages. We found substantial differences in the effects of the same APOE and APOB alleles on CVD and TC across generations. The results suggest that aging-related processes in changing environments may play key roles in the genetics of healthspan. Detailed systemic integrative analyses may substantially advance the progress. © 2013 The Authors. © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland.






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Publication Info

Kulminski, Alexander M, Irina Culminskaya, Konstantin G Arbeev, Svetlana V Ukraintseva, Eric Stallard, Liubov Arbeeva and Anatoli I Yashin (2013). The role of lipid-related genes, aging-related processes, and environment in healthspan. Aging Cell, 12(2). pp. 237–246. 10.1111/acel.12046 Retrieved from

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Alexander Kulminski

Research Professor in the Social Science Research Institute

Irina Kulminskaya

Research Scientist, Senior

Konstantin Arbeev

Associate Research Professor in the Social Science Research Institute

Konstantin G. Arbeev received the M.S. degree in Applied Mathematics from Moscow State University (branch in Ulyanovsk, Russia) in 1995 and the Ph.D. degree in Mathematics and Physics (specialization in Theoretical Foundations of Mathematical Modeling, Numerical Methods and Programming) from Ulyanovsk State University (Russia) in 1999. He was a post-doctoral fellow in Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock (Germany) before moving to Duke University in 2004 to work as a Research Scientist and a Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Sociology and the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI).  He is currently an Associate Research Professor in SSRI. Dr. Arbeev's major research interests are related to three interconnected fields of biodemography, biostatistics and genetic epidemiology as pertains to research on aging. The focus of his research is on discovering genetic and non-genetic factors that can affect the process of aging and determine longevity and healthy lifespan. He is interested in both methodological advances in this research area as well as their practical applications to analyses of large-scale longitudinal studies with phenotypic, genetic and, recently, genomic information. Dr. Arbeev authored and co-authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications in these areas.


Svetlana Ukraintseva

Research Professor in the Social Science Research Institute

Dr. Ukraintseva studies causes of human aging and related decline in resilience, to identify genetic and other factors responsible for the increase in mortality risk with age eventually limiting longevity. She explores complex relationships, including trade-offs, between physiological aging-changes and risks of major diseases (with emphasis on Alzheimer’s and cancer), as well as survival, to find new genetic and other targets for anti-aging interventions and disease prevention. She also investigates possibilities of repurposing of existing vaccines and treatments for AD prevention and interventions into the aging. For this, Dr. Ukraintseva and her team use data from several large human studies containing rich genetic and phenotypic information (including longitudinal measurements) on thousands of individuals. Dr. Ukraintseva is a PI and Key Investigator on several NIH funded grants, and has more than 130 peer-reviewed publications, including in major journals such as Nature Reviews, Stroke, European Journal of Human Genetics, and some other.

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