Association between food intake, clinical and metabolic markers and DNA damage in older subjects

Cristian Del Bo’, Daniela Martini, Stefano Bernardi, Letizia Gigliotti, Mirko Marino, Giorgio Gargari, Tomas Meroño, Nicole Hidalgo-Liberona, Cristina Andres-Lacueva, Paul A. Kroon, Antonio Cherubini, Simone Guglielmetti, Marisa Porrini, Patrizia Riso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of DNA damage as marker of oxidative stress, metabolic dysfunction and age-related diseases is debated. The present study aimed at assessing the level of DNA damage (evaluated as DNA strand-breaks, endogenous and oxidatively-induced DNA damage) in a group of older subjects with intestinal permeability enrolled within the MaPLE (Gut and Blood Microbiomics for Studying the Effect of a Polyphenol-Rich Dietary Pattern on Intestinal Permeability in the Elderly) intervention trial, to evaluate its association with clinical, metabolic and dietary markers. DNA damage in peripheral blood mononuclear cells was assessed by the comet assay in 49 older subjects participating in the study. Clinical and metabolic markers, markers of inflammation, vascular function and intestinal permeability were determined in serum. Food intake was estimated by weighted food diaries. On the whole, a trend towards higher levels of DNA damage was observed in men compared to women (p = 0.071). A positive association between DNA damage and clinical/metabolic markers (e.g., uric acid, lipid profile) and an inverse association with dietary markers (e.g., vitamin C, E, B6, folates) were found and differed based on sex. By considering the importance of DNA stability during aging, the results obtained on sex differences and the potential role of dietary and metabolic factors on DNA damage underline the need for further investigations in a larger group of older adults to confirm the associations found and to promote preventive strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2021


  • Aging
  • Diet
  • DNA damage
  • Metabolic markers
  • Older subjects


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