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Trace element status during aging in the EPIC-Potsdam study

Project Summary

The trace elements (TE) selenium (Se), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), manganese (Mn), iodine (I) and iron (Fe) have been hypothesized for a long time to be involved in the pathogenesis of major age-related chronic disease, like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer. However, there appears to be substantial heterogeneity of findings from observational studies and trials. We have observed in the first funding period that a TE profile consisting of the serum levels of Cu, Zn, Mn, Fe, I, and Se, which are well known to affect each other’s homeostasis and metabolism, undergoes characteristic changes with aging and is associated with the risk of age-related diseases. However, mediating factors for these associations and genetic and epigenetic determinants of the profile are largely unknown so far. To address these points, we will evaluate TE profiles and biomarker, genetic and epigenetic information collected in a case-cohort on diabetes, cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer risk nested in the EPIC-Potsdam study. Also, it remains unclear to what extent TE profiles are linked to physical function among elderly individuals. We aim to characterize TE in participants of EPIC-DZD, a re-assessment of the EPIC-Potsdam study after approximately 20 years, and to investigate associations of TE with measures of physical fitness.