Dysregulation of C-X-C motif ligand 10 during aging and association with cognitive performance

Neurobiol Aging. 2018 Mar;63:54-64. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2017.11.009. Epub 2017 Nov 23.


Chronic low-grade inflammation during aging (inflammaging) is associated with cognitive decline and neurodegeneration; however, the mechanisms underlying inflammaging are unclear. We studied a population (n = 361) of healthy young and old adults from the MyoAge cohort. Peripheral levels of C-X-C motif chemokine ligand 10 (CXCL10) was found to be higher in older adults, compared with young, and negatively associated with working memory performance. This coincided with an age-related reduction in blood DNA methylation at specific CpGs within the CXCL10 gene promoter. In vitro analysis supported the role of DNA methylation in regulating CXCL10 transcription. A polymorphism (rs56061981) that altered methylation at one of these CpG sites further associated with working memory performance in 2 independent aging cohorts. Studying prefrontal cortex samples, we found higher CXCL10 protein levels in those with Alzheimer's disease, compared with aged controls. These findings support the association of peripheral inflammation, as demonstrated by CXCL10, in aging and cognitive decline. We reveal age-related epigenetic and genetic factors which contribute to the dysregulation of CXCL10.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Cognitive aging; DNA methylation; Epigenetics; Inflammaging; Neurodegeneration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / genetics*
  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Aging / pathology
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism*
  • Chemokine CXCL10 / metabolism*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • DNA Methylation
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Female
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / genetics
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Nerve Degeneration
  • U937 Cells
  • Young Adult


  • Chemokine CXCL10