Mosaic Chromosomal Alterations and Human Longevity

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2023 Aug 27;78(9):1561-1568. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glad095.


Mosaic chromosomal alterations (mCAs) are structural alterations associated with aging, cancer, cardiovascular disease, infectious diseases, and mortality. The distribution of mCAs in centenarians and individuals with familial longevity is poorly understood. We used MOsaic CHromosomal Alteration (MoChA) to discover mCAs in 2050 centenarians, offspring, and 248 controls from the New England Centenarian Study (NECS) and in 3 642 subjects with familial longevity and 920 spousal controls from the Long-Life Family Study (LLFS). We analyzed study-specific associations of somatic mCAs with age, familial longevity, the incidence of age-related diseases, and mortality and aggregated the results by meta-analysis. We show that the accumulation of mCAs > 100 KB increased to 102 years and plateaued at older ages. Centenarians and offspring accumulated fewer autosomal mCAs compared with controls (relative risk 0.637, p = .0147). Subjects with the APOE E4 allele had a 35.3% higher risk of accumulating autosomal mCAs (p = .002). Males were at higher risk for mCAs compared to females (male relative risk 1.36, p = 5.15e-05). mCAs were associated with increased hazard for cancer (hazard ratio 1.2) and dementia (hazard ratio 1.259) at a 10% false discovery rate. We observed a borderline significant association between mCAs and risk for mortality (hazard ratio 1.07, p = .0605). Our results show that the prevalence of individuals with mCAs does not continue to increase at ages >102 years and factors promoting familial longevity appear to confer protections from mCAs. These results suggest that limited mCA accumulation could be an important mechanism for extreme human longevity that needs to be investigated.

Keywords: Aging; Clonal hematopoiesis; Mosaicism.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longevity / genetics
  • Male
  • Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Risk