Advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) and associations with cardio-metabolic, lifestyle, and dietary factors in a general population: the NQplus study

Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2017 Jul;33(5). doi: 10.1002/dmrr.2892. Epub 2017 Apr 17.


Background: Advanced glycation end-products are a heterogeneous group of molecules that are formed during reactions between reducing sugars and proteins. Advanced glycation end-products are thought to play a role in several diseases, including diabetes mellitus and can be measured non-invasively using skin autofluorescence (AF). The aim of this cross-sectional study was to investigate associations between skin AF and cardio-metabolic, lifestyle, and dietary factors within a general population.

Methods: The NQplus study is an ongoing longitudinal study in the surroundings of Wageningen, the Netherlands. In this cross-sectional study, skin AF was measured in 957 participants, aged 20 to 77 years, with the AGE Reader. Logistic regression was used to assess associations between skin AF and the following factors: demographics, adiposity, blood lipids, fasting glucose, HbA1c , blood pressure, dietary intake, and disease history. Stepwise linear regression was used to identify factors correlating with skin AF.

Results: In males, skin AF was significantly associated with age, coffee intake, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, body fat, full fat dairy, and educational level. In females, significant associations were found with age, coffee intake, HbA1c , diabetes, and eGFR. In the total population, current smoking was positively associated with skin AF.

Conclusions: This cross-sectional study in a general population showed that age and coffee intake were associated with skin AF in both males and females. We observed a gender disparity for some of the associations with skin AF, which need to be confirmed by further research. More detailed research is needed to assess the association between skin AF and diet.

Keywords: AGEs; advanced glycation end-products; general population; lifestyle; nutrition; skin autofluorescence.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular System / physiopathology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / physiopathology*
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Fluorescence
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin / chemistry*
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced