MARK-AGE: European study to establish biomarkers of human ageing


The rate of ageing in humans is not uniform, due to genetic heterogeneity and the influence of environmental factors. Age-related changes in body function or composition that could serve as a measure of “biological” age and predict the onset of age-related diseases and/or residual lifetime are termed “biomarkers of ageing”. Many candidate biomarkers have been proposed but in all cases their variability in cross-sectional studies is considerable, and therefore no single measurement has so far proven to yield a useful biomarker of ageing on its own, probably due to the multi-causal and multi-system nature of ageing. We propose to conduct a population study (3,700 probands) to identify a set biomarkers of ageing which, as a combination of parameters with appropriate weighting, would measure biological age better than any marker in isolation. Two large groups of subjects will be recruited, i.e. (1) randomly recruited age-stratified individuals from the general population covering the age range 35-74 years and (2) subjects born from a long-living parent belonging to a family with long living sibling(s) already recruited in the framework of the GEHA project. For genetic reasons such individuals (“GEHA offspring”) are expected to age at a slower rate. They will be recruited together with their spouses as controls, thus allowing initial validation of the biomarkers identified. (3) A small number of patients with progeroid syndromes will also be included in the study. A wide range of candidate biomarkers will be tested, including (a) “classical” ones for which data from several smaller studies have been published; (b) “new” ones, based on recent preliminary data, as well as (c) “novel” ones, based on recent research on mechanistic aspects of ageing, conducted by project participants. Bioinformatics will be used in order to extract a robust set of biomarkers of human ageing from the large amounts of data to be generated and to derive a model for healthy ageing.

  • FB Biologie
    Jansen, Eugène; Beekhof, Piet; Cremers, Johannes; Weinberger, Birgit; Fiegl, Simone; Toussaint, Olivier; Bernhard, Jürgen; Gonos, Efstathios; Capri, Miriam; Franceschi, Claudio; Sikora, Ewa; Moreno-Villanueva, Maria; Breusing, Nicolle; Grune, Tilman; Bürkle, Alexander; Dollé, Martijn E. T.(2015): Quality control data of physiological and immunological biomarkers measured in serum and plasma Mechanisms of Ageing and Development ; 151 (2015). - S. 54-59. - ISSN 0047-6374. - eISSN 1872-6216

Quality control data of physiological and immunological biomarkers measured in serum and plasma

In two work packages of the MARK-AGE project, 37 immunological and physiological biomarkers were measured in 3637 serum, plasma or blood samples in five batches during a period of 4 years.<br />The quality of the serum and plasma samples was very good as judged by the low number of biomarker measurements (only 0.2%) that were rejected because of a high hemolysis, icteria or lipemia of the samples.<br />Using quality control samples, day-to-day and batch variations were determined. The mean inter-assay variation of the five batches were all below 8%, with an average inter-assay coefficient of variation of all biomarkers of 4.0%. Also the precision of the measurements was very good, because all measurements were between 90% and 115% of the defined target values.<br />A possible mix-up of samples was determined by comparison of the extreme testosterone levels of men and women. It was concluded that 3% of the sample identification could be mixed-up.<br />Considering the complex procedure from collection to analysis, including preparation, handling, shipment and storage, of the samples in the MARK-AGE project, both the quality of the samples and the quality of the measurements are very good.

Origin (projects)

  Baur, Jennifer(2015): Biomathematical exploration of the MARK-AGE database

Biomathematical exploration of the MARK-AGE database

Baur, Jennifer

Origin (projects)

Funding sources
NameProject no.DescriptionPeriod
Kooperation570/08no information
Further information
Period: 01.04.2008 – 31.03.2013
Link: Project homepage