Abraham Aviv

New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, New York, United States

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Publications (238)1352.16 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: An epigenetic profile defining the DNA methylation age (DNAm age) of an individual has been suggested to be a biomarker of aging, and thus possibly providing a tool for assessment of health and mortality. In this study, we estimated the DNAm age of 378 Danish twins, age 30-82 years, and furthermore included a 10-year longitudinal study of the 86 oldest-old twins (mean age of 86.1 at follow-up), which subsequently were followed for mortality for 8 years. We found that the DNAm age is highly correlated with chronological age across all age groups (r = 0.97), but that the rate of change of DNAm age decreases with age. The results may in part be explained by selective mortality of those with a high DNAm age. This hypothesis was supported by a classical survival analysis showing a 35% (4-77%) increased mortality risk for each 5-year increase in the DNAm age vs. chronological age. Furthermore, the intrapair twin analysis revealed a more-than-double mortality risk for the DNAm oldest twin compared to the co-twin and a 'dose-response pattern' with the odds of dying first increasing 3.2 (1.05-10.1) times per 5-year DNAm age difference within twin pairs, thus showing a stronger association of DNAm age with mortality in the oldest-old when controlling for familial factors. In conclusion, our results support that DNAm age qualifies as a biomarker of aging.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Aging cell
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    ABSTRACT: Disease incidences increase with age, but the molecular characteristics of ageing that lead to increased disease susceptibility remain inadequately understood. Here we perform a whole-blood gene expression meta-analysis in 14,983 individuals of European ancestry (including replication) and identify 1,497 genes that are differentially expressed with chronological age. The age-associated genes do not harbor more age-associated CpG-methylation sites than other genes, but are instead enriched for the presence of potentially functional CpG-methylation sites in enhancer and insulator regions that associate with both chronological age and gene expression levels. We further used the gene expression profiles to calculate the 'transcriptomic age' of an individual, and show that differences between transcriptomic age and chronological age are associated with biological features linked to ageing, such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, fasting glucose, and body mass index. The transcriptomic prediction model adds biological relevance and complements existing epigenetic prediction models, and can be used by others to calculate transcriptomic age in external cohorts.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Nature Communications
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    ABSTRACT: Background: A longer leukocyte telomere length (LTL) in women than men has been attributed to a slow rate of LTL attrition in women, perhaps due to high estrogen exposure during the premenopausal period. Methods: To test this premise we performed a longitudinal study (an average follow-up of 12 years) in subset of the population-based Danish National Twin Registry. Participants consisted of 405 women, aged 37.5 (range 18.0 - 64.3) years, and 329 men, aged 38.8 (range 18.0 - 58.5) years, at baseline examination. Results: Women showed a longer LTL (kb ± SE) than men (baseline: 7.01 ± 0.03 vs. 6.87 ± 0.04; follow-up: 6.79 ± 0.03 vs. 6.65 ± 0.03; both p=0.005). Women displayed deceleration of LTL attrition (bp/years ± SE), as they transitioned from the premenopausal period (20.6 ± 1.0) through the perimenopausal period (16.5 ± 1.3) to the postmenopausal period (15.1 ± 1.7). Age was not associated with LTL attrition in women after statistical control for menopausal status. Men, in contrast, displayed a trend for age-dependent increase in the rate of LTL attrition, which differed significantly from the pattern in women (p for interaction=0.01). Conclusions: Results indicate that the premenopausal period is expressed in a higher rate of LTL attrition than the postmenopausal period. They further suggest that the sex gap in LTL stems from earlier ages─ the period of growth and development. The higher rate of LTL attrition in premenopausal women, we propose, might relate to estrogen-mediated increased turnover of erythrocytes, menstrual bleeding or both.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · International Journal of Epidemiology

  • No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · European geriatric medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Telomeres are regions at the ends of chromosomes that maintain chromosomal structural integrity and genomic stability. In studies of mainly older, white populations, shorter leukocyte telomere length (LTL) is associated with cardiometabolic risk factors and increased risks of mortality and coronary heart disease (CHD). On average, blacks have longer LTL than whites, but the LTL-CHD relationship in blacks is unknown. We investigated the relationship of LTL with CHD and mortality among blacks. Using a case-cohort design, 1525 postmenopausal women (667 blacks and 858 whites) from the Women's Health Initiative had LTL measured in baseline blood samples by Southern blotting. CHD or mortality hazards ratios were estimated using race-stratified and risk factor-adjusted Cox proportional hazards models. There were 367 incident CHD (226 mortality) events in whites, whereas blacks experienced 269 incident CHD (216 mortality) events during median follow-up of 13 years. Shorter LTL was associated with older age, current smoking, and white race/ethnicity. In whites, each 1 kilobase decrease in LTL was associated with 50% increased hazard of CHD, hazard ratio=1.50 (95% confidence interval, 1.08-2.10), P=0.017. There was no association between CHD and LTL in blacks. White women with shorter LTL had higher risks of mortality. In contrast, shorter LTL was weakly associated with decreased mortality hazard in blacks. As one of the largest prospective studies of LTL associations with incident CHD and mortality in a racially diverse sample, our study suggests differences in LTL associations with CHD and mortality between white and black postmenopausal women. © 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology
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    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · International Journal of Epidemiology
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    ABSTRACT: Evidence for an association of leukocyte telomere length (LTL) with cognitive function, predominantly in older adults, is inconsistent. No report has examined the association of LTL dynamics (age-specific LTL and its attrition rate) with cognitive function. We aimed to examine the association of LTL dynamics over 13 years in young adulthood with cognitive function in midlife. 497 individuals who had LTL measured at ages 28-32 and 41-46 years were assessed at ages 48-52 for global cognitive function and its five specific component domains with a NeuroTrax computerized test battery. Multivariable regression and logistic models were applied for cognition treated as a continuous and categorical variable, respectively. We found that LTL attrition (adjusted for sex, baseline LTL and potential confounders including socioeconomic variables) was inversely associated with global cognition (standardized β = -.119, p = .004) and its component domains: information processing speed (β = -.102, p = .024), visual-spatial function (β = -.102, p = .017) and memory (β = -.093, p = .045), but less so for the attention and executive domains. The multivariable-adjusted odds ratio for low global cognition comparing the upper versus lower thirds of LTL attrition was 2.12 (95 % CI 1.11-4.08, p for trend = .023). There was no association of baseline or follow-up LTL with cognition. No effect modification was evident for sex, smoking or inflammatory markers. In conclusion, faster LTL attrition in young adulthood was associated with poorer global and domain-specific cognitive function in midlife, suggesting that more rapid LTL attrition may be predictive of cognitive aging in healthy young adults.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · European Journal of Epidemiology
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    ABSTRACT: Telomere length, a highly heritable trait, is longer in offspring of older fathers. This perplexing feature has been attributed to the longer telomeres in sperm of older men and it might be an 'epigenetic' mechanism through which paternal age plays a role in telomere length regulation in humans. Based on two independent (discovery and replication) twin studies, comprising 889 twin pairs, we show an increase in the resemblance of leukocyte telomere length between dizygotic twins of older fathers, which is not seen in monozygotic twins. This phenomenon might result from a paternal age-dependent germ stem cell selection process, whereby the selected stem cells have longer telomeres, are more homogenous with respect to telomere length, and share resistance to aging. © 2015 The Authors. Aging Cell published by the Anatomical Society and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · Aging cell
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with histories of myocardial infarction display shortened leukocyte telomere length (LTL), but conflicting findings have been reported on the relation between LTL and subclinical coronary artery atherosclerosis, as expressed by coronary artery calcium (CAC). The aim of this study was to examine the relation between LTL, measured by Southern blots, and CAC in 3,169 participants in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Family Heart Study. Participants consisted of 2,556 whites, 613 blacks, 1,790 women, and 1,379 men. The odds of having CAC ≥100 for the shortest LTL tertile versus the longest LTL tertile were 1.95 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.28 to 3.16) in white men and 1.76 (95% CI 1.18 to 2.45) in white women, after adjusting for multiple covariates of CAC. The corresponding odds ratios for blacks were 1.53 (95% CI 0.67 to 3.50) and 0.87 (95% CI 0.37 to 2.00). Significance levels of tests for trend across LTL tertiles were p = 0.002 in white men, p = 0.006 in white women, p = 0.32 in black men, and p = 0.74 in black women. The associations, or lack of associations, were independent of C-reactive protein levels and other risk factors for CAC. As previously shown in other studies, whites displayed shorter LTLs than blacks (p <0.0001). In conclusion, the higher the coronary artery atherosclerotic burden in whites, the shorter the LTL. This LTL-atherosclerosis connection is not found in blacks. The mechanisms for the racial difference in LTL, CAC, and their interrelations do not seem to be related to inflammation and merit further research. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2015 · The American Journal of Cardiology
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    ABSTRACT: Leucocyte telomere length (LTL) is a complex trait associated with ageing and longevity. LTL dynamics are defined by LTL and its age-dependent attrition. Strong, but indirect evidence suggests that LTL at birth and its attrition during childhood largely explains interindividual LTL variation among adults. A number of studies have estimated the heritability of LTL, but none has assessed the heritability of age-dependent LTL attrition. We examined the heritability of LTL dynamics based on a longitudinal evaluation (an average follow-up of 12 years) in 355 monozygotic and 297 dizygotic same-sex twins (aged 19-64 years at baseline). Heritability of LTL at baseline was estimated at 64% (95% CI 39% to 83%) with 22% (95% CI 6% to 49%) of shared environmental effects. Heritability of age-dependent LTL attrition rate was estimated at 28% (95% CI 16% to 44%). Individually unique environmental factors, estimated at 72% (95% CI 56% to 84%) affected LTL attrition rate with no indication of shared environmental effects. This is the first study that estimated heritability of LTL and also its age-dependent attrition. As LTL attrition is much slower in adults than in children and given that having a long or a short LTL is largely determined before adulthood, our findings suggest that heritability and early life environment are the main determinants of LTL throughout the human life course. Thus, insights into factors that influence LTL at birth and its dynamics during childhood are crucial for understanding the role of telomere genetics in human ageing and longevity. Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://group.bmj.com/group/rights-licensing/permissions.
    Preview · Article · Mar 2015 · Journal of Medical Genetics
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    Abraham Aviv · Jeremy D Kark · Ezra Susser

    Preview · Article · Mar 2015 · Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.)
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    ABSTRACT: Increases in arterial stiffness and pulse pressure are typical features of the arterial stiffness during aging and are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular complications. Cellular and molecular determinants of arterial stiffness have not been completely elucidated. Clinically, the carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV) is the gold standard parameter of arterial stiffness. A recent genome-wide scan of the Framingham Heart Study population has shown that arterial stiffness and mean and pulsatile components of blood pressure are heritable and map to separate the genetic loci in humans, suggesting that distinct genes may modulate these two phenotypes. This chapter details the recent knowledge on the influence of genetic determinants and telomere length on the development of age-related phenotypes. Recent genetic studies have revealed specific genes contributing to arterial stiffening. Available data on genome-wide association (GWA) have been initiated on PWV and have identified common genetic variation in specific loci or single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) significantly associated with PWV. Telomere length at birth is strongly determined genetically and is the main determinant of leukocytes' telomere length (LTL) later in life. Short LTL is associated with increased risk of stiffness and atherosclerosis of the carotid artery, atherosclerotic heart disease, and diminished survival in the elderly.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2015
  • Steven C Hunt · Jeremy D Kark · Abraham Aviv

    No preview · Article · Feb 2015 · Circulation Cardiovascular Genetics

  • No preview · Article · Jan 2015 · American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
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    ABSTRACT: Leucocyte telomere length (LTL), which is fashioned by multiple genes, has been linked to a host of human diseases, including sporadic melanoma. A number of genes associated with LTL have already been identified through genome-wide association studies. The main aim of this study was to establish whether DCAF4 (DDB1 and CUL4-associated factor 4) is associated with LTL. In addition, using ingenuity pathway analysis (IPA), we examined whether LTL-associated genes in the general population might partially explain the inherently longer LTL in patients with sporadic melanoma, the risk for which is increased with ultraviolet radiation (UVR). Genome-wide association (GWA) meta-analysis and de novo genotyping of 20 022 individuals revealed a novel association (p=6.4×10(-10)) between LTL and rs2535913, which lies within DCAF4. Notably, eQTL analysis showed that rs2535913 is associated with decline in DCAF4 expressions in both lymphoblastoid cells and sun-exposed skin (p=4.1×10(-3) and 2×10(-3), respectively). Moreover, IPA revealed that LTL-associated genes, derived from GWA meta-analysis (N=9190), are over-represented among genes engaged in melanoma pathways. Meeting increasingly stringent p value thresholds (p<0.05, <0.01, <0.005, <0.001) in the LTL-GWA meta-analysis, these genes were jointly over-represented for melanoma at p values ranging from 1.97×10(-169) to 3.42×10(-24). We uncovered a new locus associated with LTL in the general population. We also provided preliminary findings that suggest a link of LTL through genetic mechanisms with UVR and melanoma in the general population. Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://group.bmj.com/group/rights-licensing/permissions.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Journal of Medical Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: Naevus count is the strongest risk factor for melanoma. Body Mass Index (BMI) has been linked to melanoma risk. In this study, we investigate the link between naevus count and height, weight and bone mineral density (BMD) in the TwinsUK cohort (N = 2119). In addition we adjusted for leucocyte telomere length (LTL) as LTL is linked to both BMD and naevus count. Naevus count was positively associated with height (p = 0.001) but not with weight (p = 0.187) despite adjusting for age and twin relatedness. This suggests that the previously reported melanoma association with BMI may be explained by height alone. Further adjustment for LTL did not affect the significance of the association between height and naevus count so LTL does not fully explain these results. BMD was associated with naevus count at the spine (coeff 18.9, p = 0.01), hip (coeff = 18.9, p = 0.03) and forearm (coeff = 32.7, p = 0.06) despite adjusting for age, twin relatedness, weight, height and LTL. This large study in healthy individuals shows that growth via height, probably in early life, and bone mass are risk factors for melanoma via increased naevus count. The link between these two phenotypes may possibly be explained by telomere biology, differentiation genes from the neural crests but also other yet unknown factors which may influence both bones and melanocytes biology.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Disruption of telomere maintenance pathways leads to accelerated entry into cellular senescence, a stable proliferative arrest that promotes aging-associated disorders in some mammals. The budding yeast CST complex, comprising Cdc13, Stn1, and Ctc1, is critical for telomere replication, length regulation, and end protection. Although mammalian homologues of CST have been identified recently, their role and function for telomere maintenance in normal somatic human cells are still incompletely understood. Here, we characterize the function of human Stn1 in cultured human fibroblasts and demonstrate its critical role in telomere replication, length regulation, and function. In the absence of high telomerase activity, shRNA-mediated knockdown of hStn1 resulted in aberrant and fragile telomeric structures, stochastic telomere attrition, increased telomere erosion rates, telomere dysfunction, and consequently accelerated entry into cellular senescence. Oxidative stress augmented the defects caused by Stn1 knockdown leading to almost immediate cessation of cell proliferation. In contrast, overexpression of hTERT suppressed some of the defects caused by hStn1 knockdown suggesting that telomerase can partially compensate for hStn1 loss. Our findings reveal a critical role for human Stn1 in telomere length maintenance and function, supporting the model that efficient replication of telomeric repeats is critical for long-term viability of normal somatic mammalian cells. © 2014 The Authors. Aging Cell published by the Anatomical Society and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2014 · Aging cell
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: CXCL12 encodes stromal cell-derived factor 1α (SDF-1), which binds to the receptor encoded by CXCR4. Variation at the CXCL12 locus is associated with coronary artery disease and endothelial progenitor cell numbers, whereas variation at the CXCR4 locus is associated with leukocyte telomere length, which has been shown to be associated with coronary artery disease. Therefore, we examined the relationships of plasma SDF-1 levels to cardiovascular disease (CVD)-related outcomes, risk factors, leukocyte telomere length, and endothelial progenitor cells. Approach and results: SDF-1 was measured in 3359 Framingham Heart Study participants. We used Cox regression to examine relationships of SDF-1 to new-onset CVD, myocardial infarction, heart failure, and all-cause mortality; we used linear regression to evaluate associations of SDF-1 with risk factors, leukocyte telomere length, and CD34+ cell phenotypes. In multivariable models, higher SDF-1 levels were associated with older age, lower levels of high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol and cigarette smoking. Higher SDF-1 levels were associated with lower CD34+ cell frequency (P=0.02) but not with leukocyte telomere length. During follow-up (median, 9.3 years), there were 263 new-onset CVD events, 160 myocardial infarctions, 200 heart failure events, and 385 deaths. After adjusting for clinical risk factors, SDF-1 levels were associated with heart failure (P=0.04) and all-cause mortality (P=0.003) but not with CVD (P=0.39) or myocardial infarction (P=0.10). The association of SDF-1 levels with myocardial infarction was attenuated after adjustment for high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol. Conclusions: After adjusting for traditional CVD risk factors, SDF-1 is associated with heart failure and all-cause mortality risk. Additional studies are needed to determine whether measurement of SDF-1 levels has clinical use.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2014 · Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology
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    ABSTRACT: Background: In eutherian mammals and in humans, the female fetus may be masculinized while sharing the intra-uterine environment with a male fetus. Telomere length (TL), as expressed in leukocytes, is heritable and is longer in women than in men. The main determinant of leukocyte TL (LTL) is LTL at birth. However, LTL is modified by age dependent attrition. Methods: We studied LTL dynamics (LTL and its attrition) in adult same-sex(monozygotic, n=268; dizygotic, n=308) twins and opposite-sex (n=144) twins. LTL was measured by Southern blots of the terminal restriction fragments. Results: We observed that in same-sex (both monozygotic and dizygotic) twins, as reported in singletons, LTL was longer in females than in males [estimate ± standard error (SE):163 ± 63 bp, P<0.01]. However, in opposite-sex twins, female LTL was indistinguishable from that of males (-31 ± 52 bp, P=0.6), whereas male LTL was not affected. Findings were similar when the comparison was restricted to opposite-sex and same-sex dizygotic twins (females relative to males: same-sex: 188 ± 90 bp, P<0.05; other-sex: -32 ± 64 bp, P=0.6). Conclusions: These findings are compatible with masculinization of the female fetus in opposite-sex twins. They suggest that the sex difference in LTL, seen in the general population, is largely determined in utero, perhaps by the intrauterine hormonal environment. Further studies in newborn twins are warranted to test this thesis.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · International Journal of Epidemiology
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    ABSTRACT: Shortening of telomeres, the protective structures at the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes, is associated with age-related pathologies. Telomere length is influenced by DNA integrity and DNA and histone methylation. Folate plays a role in providing precursors for nucleotides and methyl groups for methylation reactions and has the potential to influence telomere length. We determined the association between leukocyte telomere length and long-term plasma folate status (mean of 4 years) in Framingham Offspring Study (n = 1,044, females = 52.1 %, mean age 59 years) using data from samples collected before and after folic acid fortification. Leukocyte telomere length was determined by Southern analysis and fasting plasma folate concentration using microbiological assay. There was no significant positive association between long-term plasma folate and leukocyte telomere length among the Framingham Offspring Study participants perhaps due to their adequate folate status. While the leukocyte telomere length in the second quintile of plasma folate was longer than that in the first quintile, the difference was not statistically significant. The leukocyte telomere length of the individuals in the fifth quintile of plasma folate was shorter than that of those in the second quintile by 180 bp (P < 0.01). There was a linear decrease in leukocyte telomere length with higher plasma folate concentrations in the upper four quintiles of plasma folate (P for trend = 0.001). Multivitamin use was associated with shorter telomeres in this cohort (P = 0.015). High plasma folate status possibly resulting from high folic acid intake may interfere with the role of folate in maintaining telomere integrity.
    No preview · Article · May 2014 · European Journal of Nutrition

Publication Stats

9k Citations
1,352.16 Total Impact Points


  • 2015
    • New York State Psychiatric Institute
      New York, New York, United States
  • 2014-2015
    • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
      Нью-Брансуик, New Jersey, United States
  • 1982-2015
    • Rutgers New Jersey Medical School
      • • Department of Surgery
      • • Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health
      • • Division of Neurology
      • • Department of Medicine
      Newark, New Jersey, United States
  • 2012-2013
    • Columbia University
      • Department of Epidemiology
      New York, New York, United States
  • 2011
    • University of California, San Francisco
      • Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics
      San Francisco, California, United States
  • 2003-2005
    • Cardiovascular Research Foundation
      New York, New York, United States
  • 1986
    • Newark Academy
      Ливингстон, New Jersey, United States
  • 1985
    • The Jikei University School of Medicine
      • Department of Internal Medicine
      Edo, Tōkyō, Japan