Profiling IgG N-glycans as potential biomarker of chronological and biological ages: A community-based study in a Han Chinese population

Medicine (Baltimore). 2016 Jul;95(28):e4112. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000004112.


As an important post-translation modifying process, glycosylation significantly affects the structure and function of immunoglobulin G (IgG) molecules and is essential in many steps of the inflammatory cascade. Studies have demonstrated the potential of using glycosylation features of IgG as a component of predictive biomarkers for chronological age in several European populations, whereas no study has been reported in Chinese. Herein, we report various patterns of changes in IgG glycosylation associated with age by analyzing IgG glycosylation in 701 community-based Han Chinese (244 males, 457 females; 23-68 years old). Eleven IgG glycans, including FA2B, A2G1, FA2[6]G1, FA2[3]G1, FA2[6]BG1, FA2[3]BG1, A2G2, A2BG2, FA2G2, FA2G2S1, and FA2G2S2, change considerably with age and specific combinations of these glycan features can explain 23.3% to 45.4% of the variance in chronological age in this population. This indicates that these combinations of glycan features provide more predictive information than other single markers of biological age such as telomere length. In addition, the clinical traits such as fasting plasma glucose and aspartate aminotransferase associated with biological age are strongly correlated with the combined glycan features. We conclude that IgG glycosylation appears to correlate with both chronological and biological ages, and thus its possible role in the aging process merits further study.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • China / ethnology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Glycosylation
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / metabolism*
  • Longevity*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysaccharides / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Polysaccharides
  • glycosylated IgG