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Hypothesis

Evidence for Biological Age Acceleration and Telomere Shortening in COVID-19 Survivors

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Laboratory of Epigenetics, Istituti Clinici Scientifici Maugeri IRCCS, Via Maugeri 10, 27100 Pavia, Italy
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Foundation “Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS”, Department of Translational Medicine & Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, and Department of Cardiovascular Science, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, 00168 Rome, Italy
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Institute for Systems Analysis and Computer Science “A. Ruberti” (IASI), National Research Council (CNR), 00185 Rome, Italy
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Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit, Istituti Clinici Scientifici Maugeri IRCCS, Via Maugeri 10, 27100 Pavia, Italy
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Cardiorespiratory Rehabilitation Department, IRCCS Maugeri Clinical Scientific Institutes, 20097 Milan, Italy
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Scientific Direction, Istituti Clinici Scientifici Maugeri IRCCS, Via Maugeri 4, 27100 Pavia, Italy
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Laboratory of Molecular Cardiology, Policlinico San Donato IRCCS, San Donato Milanese, 20097 Milan, Italy
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Department of Cardiology, Istituti Clinici Scientifici Maugeri IRCCS, 27040 Montescano, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jordi Pérez-Tur
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(11), 6151; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22116151
Received: 13 May 2021 / Revised: 28 May 2021 / Accepted: 31 May 2021 / Published: 7 June 2021
The SARS-CoV-2 infection determines the COVID-19 syndrome characterized, in the worst cases, by severe respiratory distress, pulmonary and cardiac fibrosis, inflammatory cytokine release, and immunosuppression. This condition has led to the death of about 2.15% of the total infected world population so far. Among survivors, the presence of the so-called persistent post-COVID-19 syndrome (PPCS) is a common finding. In COVID-19 survivors, PPCS presents one or more symptoms: fatigue, dyspnea, memory loss, sleep disorders, and difficulty concentrating. In this study, a cohort of 117 COVID-19 survivors (post-COVID-19) and 144 non-infected volunteers (COVID-19-free) was analyzed using pyrosequencing of defined CpG islands previously identified as suitable for biological age determination. The results show a consistent biological age increase in the post-COVID-19 population, determining a DeltaAge acceleration of 10.45 ± 7.29 years (+5.25 years above the range of normality) compared with 3.68 ± 8.17 years for the COVID-19-free population (p < 0.0001). A significant telomere shortening parallels this finding in the post-COVID-19 cohort compared with COVID-19-free subjects (p < 0.0001). Additionally, ACE2 expression was decreased in post-COVID-19 patients, compared with the COVID-19-free population, while DPP-4 did not change. In light of these observations, we hypothesize that some epigenetic alterations are associated with the post-COVID-19 condition, particularly in younger patients (< 60 years). View Full-Text
Keywords: biological age; COVID-19; post-COVID-19; telomeres; epigenetics; DNA methylation; ACE2; DPP-4; DeltaAge biological age; COVID-19; post-COVID-19; telomeres; epigenetics; DNA methylation; ACE2; DPP-4; DeltaAge
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MDPI and ACS Style

Mongelli, A.; Barbi, V.; Gottardi Zamperla, M.; Atlante, S.; Forleo, L.; Nesta, M.; Massetti, M.; Pontecorvi, A.; Nanni, S.; Farsetti, A.; Catalano, O.; Bussotti, M.; Dalla Vecchia, L.A.; Bachetti, T.; Martelli, F.; La Rovere, M.T.; Gaetano, C. Evidence for Biological Age Acceleration and Telomere Shortening in COVID-19 Survivors. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22, 6151. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22116151

AMA Style

Mongelli A, Barbi V, Gottardi Zamperla M, Atlante S, Forleo L, Nesta M, Massetti M, Pontecorvi A, Nanni S, Farsetti A, Catalano O, Bussotti M, Dalla Vecchia LA, Bachetti T, Martelli F, La Rovere MT, Gaetano C. Evidence for Biological Age Acceleration and Telomere Shortening in COVID-19 Survivors. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2021; 22(11):6151. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22116151

Chicago/Turabian Style

Mongelli, Alessia, Veronica Barbi, Michela Gottardi Zamperla, Sandra Atlante, Luana Forleo, Marialisa Nesta, Massimo Massetti, Alfredo Pontecorvi, Simona Nanni, Antonella Farsetti, Oronzo Catalano, Maurizio Bussotti, Laura A. Dalla Vecchia, Tiziana Bachetti, Fabio Martelli, Maria T. La Rovere, and Carlo Gaetano. 2021. "Evidence for Biological Age Acceleration and Telomere Shortening in COVID-19 Survivors" International Journal of Molecular Sciences 22, no. 11: 6151. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22116151

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