The most frequently used model to describe the exponential increase in mortality rate over age is the Gompertz equation. Logarithmically transformed, the equation conforms to a straight line, of which the slope has been interpreted as the rate of senescence. Earlier, we proposed the derivative function of the Gompertz equation as a superior descriptor of senescence rate. Here, we tested both measures of the rate of senescence in a population of patients with end-stage renal disease. It is clinical dogma that patients on dialysis experience accelerated senescence, whereas those with a functional kidney transplant have mortality rates comparable to the general population. Therefore, we calculated the age-specific mortality rates for European patients on dialysis (n=274 221; follow-up=594 767 person-years), for European patients with a functioning kidney transplant (n=61 286; follow-up=345 024 person-years), and for the general European population. We found higher mortality rates, but a smaller slope of logarithmic mortality curve for patients on dialysis compared with both patients with a functioning kidney transplant and the general population (P<0.001). A classical interpretation of the Gompertz model would imply that the rate of senescence in patients on dialysis is lower than in patients with a functioning transplant and lower than in the general population. In contrast, the derivative function of the Gompertz equation yielded the highest senescence rates for patients on dialysis, whereas the rate was similar in patients with a functioning transplant and the general population. We conclude that the rate of senescence is better described by the derivative function of the Gompertz equation.
© 2010 The Authors. Aging Cell © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland.