Engineering 101

Your Liver Might Be Older Than Your Heart

It seems that our organs and systems have different ages from a biological perspective, says investigators Xun Xu of the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) and China National GeneBank (CNGB) in Shenzhen, China. Published in the journal Cell Reports, the researchers used a number of techniques to develop tools to measure the biological ages of various organ systems. Their results are that there are multiple “clocks” within the body that vary widely based on genetics and lifestyle.

The research involved 4,066 volunteers between 20 and 45 years old in the Shenzhen area supplying blood and stool samples, facial skin images, and physical fitness examinations. 403 features were measured and then classified into nine categories: cardiovascular-related, renal-related, liver-related, sex hormone, facial skin, nutrition/metabolism, immune-related, physical fitness-related, and gut microbiome features.

They discovered that the biological ages of different organs and systems had diverse correlations, some of them unexpected. For example, having a more diverse gut microbiota indicated a younger gut while having a negative impact on the aging of the kidneys at the same time, possibly because the diversity of species causes the kidneys to do more work.

Tap into the research—Cell Reports, Nie, Li, and Li et al. “Distinct biological ages of organs and systems identified from a multi-omics study” https://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247(22)00186-3

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