Serum carboxymethyl-lysine, disability, and frailty in older persons: The cardiovascular health study

Heather E. Whitson, Alice M. Arnold, Laura M. Yee, Kenneth J. Mukamal, Jorge R. Kizer, Luc Djousse, Joachim H. Ix, David Siscovick, Russell P. Tracy, Stephen M. Thielke, Calvin Hirsch, Anne B. Newman, Susan Zieman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background. Advanced glycation endproducts are biologically active compounds that accumulate in disordered metabolism and normal aging. Carboxymethyl-lysine (CML), a ubiquitous human advanced glycation endproduct, has been associated with age-related conditions and mortality. Our objective was to ascertain the relationship between CML and geriatric outcomes (disability and frailty) in a large cohort of older men and women. Methods. In 1996-1997, serum CML was measured in 3,373 Cardiovascular Health Study participants (mean age 78.1 ± 4.8 years). Disability, defined as difficulty in any of six activities of daily living, was assessed every 6-12 months for 14 years. Frailty was defined according to five standard criteria at the 1996-1997 visit. Cox proportional hazard models estimated the relationship between CML and incident disability (N = 2,643). Logistic regression models estimated the relationship between CML and prevalent frailty. Results. Adjusting for multiple potential confounders, higher CML was associated with incident disability (hazard ratio per standard deviation [225 ng/mL] increase: 1.05, 95% CI 1.01-1.11). In men, odds of frailty increased with higher CML values (odds ratio = 1.30 per standard deviation, 95% CI 1.14-1.48), but the relationship was attenuated by adjustment for cognitive status, kidney function, and arthritis. CML was not associated with frailty in women. Conclusions. Higher serum CML levels in late life are associated with incident disability and prevalent frailty. Further work is needed to understand CML's value as a risk stratifier, biomarker, or target for interventions that promote healthy aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)710-716
Number of pages7
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Biomarkers
  • Disablement process
  • Epidemiology
  • Frailty-Metabolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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