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We identified differing trajectories of serum CRP across the cohorts, with no homogeneous trends seen with age. Conversely, the epigenetic score was consistently found to increase with age, and to do so more rapidly in males compared to females. Higher levels of serum CRP were found to associate with poorer cognition in Lothian Birth Cohort 1936, but not in Generation Scotland. However, a consistent negative association was identified between cognition and the epigenetic score in both cohorts. Furthermore, the epigenetic score accounted for a greater proportion of variance in cognitive ability.
Our results suggest that epigenetic signatures of acute inflammatory markers may provide an enhanced signature of chronic inflammation, allowing for more reliable stratification of individuals, and thus clearer inference of associations with incident health outcomes.
- DNA methylation
- C-reactive protein
- cognitive ability