Skin autofluorescence, a non-invasive marker of advanced glycation end products: clinical relevance and limitations

Postgrad Med J. 2017 May;93(1099):289-294. doi: 10.1136/postgradmedj-2016-134579. Epub 2017 Jan 31.


Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are protein-bound compounds derived from glycaemic and oxidative stress that contain fluorescent properties, which can be non-invasively measured as skin autofluorescence (SAF) by the AGE Reader. SAF has been demonstrated to be a biomarker of cumulative skin AGEs and potentially may be a better predictor for the development of chronic complications and mortality in diabetes than glycated haemoglobin A1c. However, there are several confounding factors that should be assessed prior to its broader application: these include presence of other fluorescent compounds in the skin that might be measured (eg, fluorophores), skin pigmentation and use of skin creams. The aim of this article is to provide a theoretical background of this newly developed method, evaluate its clinical relevance and discuss the potential confounding factors that need further analysis.

Keywords: AGE-Reader; Advanced glycation end products; cardiovascular risk; confounding factors; diabetes; skin autofluorescence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism*
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Optical Imaging
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Assessment
  • Skin / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced