To assess normal and pathological peptidomic changes that may lead to an improved understanding of molecular mechanisms underlying ageing, urinarypeptidomes of 1227 healthy and 10333 diseased individuals between 20 and 86 years of age were investigated. The diseases thereby comprised diabetes mellitus, renal and cardiovascular diseases. Using age as a continuous variable, 116 peptides were identified that significantly (p < 0.05; |ρ|≥0.2) correlated with age in the healthy cohort. The same approach was applied to the diseased cohort. Upon comparison of the peptide patterns of the two cohorts 112 common age-correlated peptides were identified. These 112 peptides predominantly originated from collagen, uromodulin and fibrinogen. While most fibrillar and basement membrane collagen fragments showed a decreased age-related excretion, uromodulin, beta-2-microglobulin and fibrinogen fragments showed an increase. Peptide-based in silico protease analysis was performed and 32 proteases, including matrix metalloproteinases and cathepsins, were predicted to be involved in ageing. Identified peptides, predicted proteases and patient information were combined in a systems biology pathway analysis to identify molecular pathways associated with normal and/or pathological ageing. While perturbations in collagen homeostasis, trafficking of toll-like receptors and endosomal pathways were commonly identified, degradation of insulin-like growth factor-binding proteins was uniquely identified in pathological ageing.
Keywords: Gerotarget; ageing; collagen; peptidomics; proteases; systems biology; urine.