Accumulation of advanced glycation end products evaluated by skin autofluorescence and incident frailty in older adults from the Bordeaux Three-City cohort

PLoS One. 2017 Oct 17;12(10):e0186087. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0186087. eCollection 2017.


Aim: We analyzed the cross-sectional and prospective relationships between the accumulation of advanced glycation end products (AGE), assessed by skin autofluorescence (AF) and frailty and its components.

Methods: A total of 423 participants of the Bordeaux sample of the Three-City study 75 years of age or older in 2009-2010 were included in the cross-sectional analysis. Among them, 255 initially non-frail participants were re-examined 4 years later. Skin AF (arbitrary units (AU)) was measured using the AGE Reader. Frailty was defined using Fried's criteria. Associations were assessed with logistic regression models.

Results: Mean skin AF at baseline was 2.81 ±0.68 AU and 16.8% participants were frail. Adjusted for sociodemographic and health characteristics, skin AF was associated neither with prevalent frailty as a whole (Odds Ratio (OR) = 1.2; 95% Confidence Interval: 0.8-1.9) nor with any of its components. Among 255 non-frail participants, 32 became frail over 4 years. In multivariate analyses, skin AF was not associated with incident frailty as a whole (OR = 1.0; 0.5-2.0) but with a doubled risk of incident exhaustion (OR = 2.0; 1.2-3.6) and low energy expenditure (OR = 2.0; 1.1-3.7). No association was observed with other criteria.

Conclusion: In French older community-dwellers aged 75 years and over, the accumulation of AGEs evaluated by skin AF was not associated with prevalent or incident frailty but with the 4-year risk of exhaustion and low energy expenditure. Further studies with larger samples are needed to confirm our results.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Aging / pathology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fatigue / metabolism*
  • Fatigue / pathology
  • Female
  • Frail Elderly
  • France
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Independent Living
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Optical Imaging
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin / metabolism*
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin Aging / pathology*


  • Glycation End Products, Advanced

Grant support

The Three-City Study is conducted under a partnership agreement between the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM), Victor Segalen – Bordeaux2 University and the Sanofi-Synthélabo company. The Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale funded the preparation and beginning of the study. The 3C-Study is also sponsored by the Caisse Nationale Maladie des Travailleurs Salariés, Direction Générale de la Santé, Conseils Régionaux of Aquitaine and Bourgogne, Fondation de France, Ministry of Research-INSERM Program Cohortes et collections de données biologiques, the Fondation Plan Alzheimer (FCS 2009-2012), and the Caisse Nationale pour la Solidarité et l’Autonomie (CNSA). This work was supported by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) FRAILOMIC Project (grant number 305483) to SP. Study sponsors played no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; and preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript.