Autofluorescence of Skin Advanced Glycation End Products: Marker of Metabolic Memory in Elderly Population

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2015 Jul;70(7):841-6. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glu243. Epub 2015 Jan 14.


Background: Advanced glycation end products are involved in the vascular complications of diabetes, in chronic kidney disease, and in the aging process. Their accumulation in the elderly people, as reflected by skin autofluorescence (sAF), may be a marker of metabolic memory. We aimed to examine the association of sAF with glycemic and renal status 10 years earlier in older persons.

Methods: In retrospective cohort study, 328 elderly community dwellers aged of 75 years and over had sAF measurement 10 years after their inclusion in the Three-City cohort. Fasting plasma glucose and serum creatinine were measured at baseline and at 10-year follow-up. In 125 participants, HbA1c was available at these two times. Associations between sAF and the glycemic and renal status 10 years before were analyzed by multivariate linear regression adjusted for age, sex, hypertension, body mass index, hypertriglyceridemia, and smoking.

Results: Participants were 82.4 (standard deviation = 4.1) years on average, and their mean sAF was 2.8 (standard deviation = 0.7) arbitrary units (AU). After adjustment, sAF was higher in participants with long-standing diabetes (+0.38 AU, p = .01) or chronic kidney disease (+0.29 AU, p = .02) compared with healthy participants. sAF was related to fasting plasma glucose (+1 mmol/L associated with +0.08 AU, p = .01) and HbA1c (+1% associated with +0.15 AU, p = .03) 10 years earlier, but not to the current fasting plasma glucose (p = .82) and HbA1c (p = .32). sAF was also related to the distal and current estimated glomerular filtration rates (p = .002 and .004, respectively).

Conclusions: sAF reflects glycemic and renal status 10 years before, supporting its value as a marker of metabolic memory in the elderly people.

Keywords: Advanced glycation end products; Aging.; Metabolic memory; Skin autofluorescence.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism*
  • Female
  • France
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / metabolism
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Optical Imaging
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / metabolism*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin / metabolism*
  • Time Factors


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced
  • Creatinine