Remodelling of biological parameters during human ageing: Evidence for complex regulation in longevity and in type 2 diabetes

Liana Spazzafumo, Fabiola Olivieri, Angela Marie Abbatecola, Gastone Castellani, Daniela Monti, Rosamaria Lisa, Roberta Galeazzi, Cristina Sirolla, Roberto Testa, Rita Ostan, Maria Scurti, Calogero Caruso, Sonya Vasto, Rosanna Vescovini, Giulia Ogliari, Daniela Mari, Fabrizia Lattanzio, Claudio Franceschi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Factor structure analyses have revealed the presence of specific biological system markers in healthy humans and diseases. However, this type of approach in very old persons and in type 2 diabetes (T2DM) is lacking. A total sample of 2,137 Italians consisted of two groups: 1,604 healthy and 533 with T2DM. Age (years) was categorized as adults (≤65), old (66-85), oldest old (>85-98) and centenarians (≥99). Specific biomarkers of routine haematological and biochemical testing were tested across each age group. Exploratory factorial analysis (EFA) by principal component method with Varimax rotation was used to identify factors including related variables. Structural equation modelling (SEM) was applied to confirm factor solutions for each age group. EFA and SEM identified specific factor structures according to age in both groups. An age-associated reduction of factor structure was observed from adults to oldest old in the healthy group (explained variance 60.4% vs 50.3%) and from adults to old in the T2DM group (explained variance 57.4% vs 44.2%). Centenarians showed three-factor structure similar to those of adults (explained variance 58.4%). The inflammatory component became the major factor in old group and was the first one in T2DM. SEM analysis in healthy subjects suggested that the glucose levels had an important role in the oldest old. Factorial structure change during healthy ageing was associated with a decrease in complexity but showed an increase in variability and inflammation. Structural relationship changes observed in healthy subjects appeared earlier in diabetic patients and later in centenarians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-429
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


  • Ageing
  • Centenarians
  • Diabetic patients
  • Exploratory factor analysis
  • Structural equation modelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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