Menopause accelerates biological aging

Menopause accelerates biological aging

Epidemiological studies have suggested a negative link between women’s age at menopause and mortality risk.

Researchers used a previously established method called the epigenetic clock, which can help gauge an individual’s age based on DNA extracted from any tissue, to examine links between menopause and biological aging. Using DNA samples from more than 3,100 women enrolled in four large observational studies, the authors uncovered links between epigenetic age and menopause-related traits.

The findings reveal that increasing epigenetic age in blood samples was tied to lower age at menopause; menopause induced by surgical removal of both ovaries was tied to increased epigenetic age in blood and saliva; and menopausal hormone therapy, which alleviates the effects of menopause, was tied to decreasing epigenetic age in buccal epithelial samples.

Further, a genetic variant tied to menopause onset was also tied to the acceleration of epigenetic age, suggesting that menopause causes an increase in biological age. Despite the tissue-specific nature of the associations revealed by the analysis, the findings raise the possibility that menopause might speed biological aging.

Future epigenetic clock studies following groups of women as they cross the menopausal threshold might help establish definitive links between menopause and accelerated aging, according to the authors.