Epigenetic profile of Japanese supercentenarians: a cross-sectional study

Shohei Komaki, Masatoshi Nagata, Eri Arai, Ryo Otomo, Kanako Ono, Yukiko Abe, Hideki Ohmomo, So Umekage, Natsuko O. Shinozaki, Tsuyoshi Hachiya, Yoichi Sutoh, Yayoi Otsuka-Yamasaki, Yasumichi Arai, Nobuyoshi Hirose, Akio Yoneyama, Hideyuki Okano, Makoto Sasaki, Yae Kanai, Atsushi Shimizu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Centenarians and supercentenarians with exceptional longevity are excellent models for research towards improvements of healthy life expectancy. Extensive research regarding the maintenance and reduction of epigenetic age has provided insights into increasing healthy longevity. To this end, we explored the epigenetic signatures reflecting hallmarks of exceptional healthy longevity, including avoidance of age-related diseases and cognitive functional decline. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, we enrolled Japanese non-centenarians (eligible participants aged 20–80 years) from the Tohoku Medical Megabank Community-Based Cohort Study and centenarians and supercentenarians (aged 101–115 years) from the Tokyo Centenarian Study and the Japanese Semi-supercentenarian Study. We assessed participants’ whole-blood DNA methylation profiles and then developed sex-specific and non-specific first-generation epigenetic clocks by elastic net regression, calculated individuals’ epigenetic ages, and assessed their age acceleration. We also screened for age-related CpG sites in non-centenarians by epigenome-wide linear regression analyses and ANOVA. We subsequently investigated which CpG sites in centenarians and supercentenarians had DNA methylation patterns following the age-related findings obtained from non-centenarians and which did not. We further characterised CpG sites with hypermethylation or hypomethylation in the centenarians and supercentenarians using enrichment and protein–protein interaction network analyses. Findings: We enrolled 421 non-centenarians (231 [55%] women and 190 [45%] men; age range 20–78 years), recruited between May 20, 2013, and March 31, 2016, and 94 centenarians and supercentenarians (66 women [70%] and 28 [30%] men; age range 101–115 years), recruited between Jan 20, 2001, and April 17, 2018. Non-sex-specific epigenetic clock showed the highest accuracy (r=0·96) based on which centenarians and supercentenarians had negative epigenetic age acceleration. Epigenome-wide association analyses further showed that centenarians and supercentenarians had younger-than-expected epigenetic states (DNA methylation profiles similar to those of non-centenarians) for 557 CpG sites enriched in cancer-related and neuropsychiatric-related genes, whereas these individuals had advanced (or older) epigenetic states for 163 CpG sites represented by genes related to TGF-β signalling, which is involved in anti-inflammatory responses and known to contribute to healthy ageing. Interpretation: These results indicate that exceptionally healthy longevity depends not only on maintaining young epigenetic states but also on advanced states of specific epigenetic regions. Funding: The Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development, KDDI Research, and Keio University. Translation: For the Japanese translation of the abstract see Supplementary Materials section.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e83-e90
JournalThe Lancet Healthy Longevity
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Feb

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Family Practice


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