N-glycomic biomarkers of biological aging and longevity: A link with inflammaging

Fabio Dall'Olio, Valerie Vanhooren, Cuiying Chitty Chen, P. Eline Slagboom, Manfred Wuhrer, Claudio Franceschi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Glycosylation is a frequent co/post-translational modification of proteins which modulates a variety of biological functions. The analysis of N-glycome, i.e. the sugar chains N-linked to asparagine, identified new candidate biomarkers of aging such as N-glycans devoid of galactose residues on their branches, in a variety of human and experimental model systems, such as healthy old people, centenarians and their offspring and caloric restricted mice. These agalactosylated biantennary structures mainly decorate Asn297 of Fc portion of IgG (IgG-G0), and are present also in patients affected by progeroid syndromes and a variety of autoimmune/inflammatory diseases. IgG-G0 exert a pro-inflammatory effect through different mechanisms, including the lectin pathway of complement, binding to Fcγ receptors and formation of autoantibody aggregates. The age-related accumulation of IgG-G0 can contribute to inflammaging, the low-grade pro-inflammatory status that characterizes elderly, by creating a vicious loop in which inflammation is responsible for the production of aberrantly glycosylated IgG which, in turn, would activate the immune system, exacerbating inflammation. Moreover, recent data suggest that the N-glycomic shift observed in aging could be related not only to inflammation but also to alteration of important metabolic pathways. Thus, altered N-glycans are both powerful markers of aging and possible contributors to its pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-698
Number of pages14
JournalAgeing Research Reviews
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


  • Antibody glycosylation
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Glycosylation
  • High-throughput glycomic analysis
  • Inflammaging
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Biochemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Neurology

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