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Identification of prospective aging drug targets via Mendelian randomization analysis

Aging Cell. 2024 Apr 4:e14171. doi: 10.1111/acel.14171. Online ahead of print.


Aging represents a multifaceted process culminating in the deterioration of biological functions. Despite the introduction of numerous anti-aging strategies, their therapeutic outcomes have often been less than optimal. Consequently, discovering new targets to mitigate aging effects is of critical importance. We applied Mendelian randomization (MR) to identify potential pharmacological targets against aging, drawing upon summary statistics from both the Decode and FinnGen cohorts, with further validation in an additional cohort. To address potential reverse causality, bidirectional MR analysis with Steiger filtering was utilized. Additionally, Bayesian co-localization and phenotype scanning were implemented to investigate previous associations between genetic variants and traits. Summary-data-based Mendelian randomization (SMR) analysis was conducted to assess the impact of genetic variants on aging via their effects on protein expression. Additionally, mediation analysis was orchestrated to uncover potential intermediaries in these associations. Finally, we probed the systemic implications of drug-target protein expression across diverse indications by MR-PheWas analysis. Utilizing a Bonferroni-corrected threshold, our MR examination identified 10 protein-aging associations. Within this cohort of proteins, MST1, LCT, GMPR2, PSMB4, ECM1, EFEMP1, and ISLR2 appear to exacerbate aging risks, while MAX, B3GNT8, and USP8 may exert protective influences. None of these proteins displayed reverse causality except EFEMP1. Bayesian co-localization inferred shared variants between aging and proteins such as B3GNT8 (rs11670143), ECM1 (rs61819393), and others listed. Mediator analysis pinpointed 1,5-anhydroglucitol as a partial intermediary in the influence LCT exhibits on telomere length. Circulating proteins play a pivotal role in influencing the aging process, making them promising candidates for therapeutic intervention. The implications of these proteins in aging warrant further investigation in future clinical research.

PMID:38572516 | DOI:10.1111/acel.14171

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