A physically active lifestyle is related to a lower level of skin autofluorescence in a large chronic disease population (Lifelines cohort)

Saskia Corine van de Zande*, Jeroen Klaas de Vries, Inge van den Akker-Scheek, Johannes Zwerver, Andries Jan Smit

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Downloads (Pure)


OBJECTIVE: Physical activity (PA) has substantial health benefits and is important in combatting chronic diseases, which have been associated with elevated levels of advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs). AGEs play a role in the ageing process, and an association between PA and AGEs has been reported. We aimed to investigate the relationship between PA and AGE accumulation in a general population and in a population with chronic diseases.

METHODS: This large cross-sectional population study uses data from adult participants in the Lifelines project, with participant information drawn from the Lifelines database, as well data from patients with diabetes mellitus, renal and/or cardiovascular diseases. Tissue AGE accumulation was assessed non-invasively by skin-autofluorescence (SAF) using an AGE Reader. PA was assessed using the short questionnaire to assess health-enhancing physical activity (SQUASH) questionnaire. Multivariate linear regression analyses were adjusted for age, body mass index (BMI), sex, and smoking status.

RESULTS: Data from 63,452 participants (general population n = 59,177, chronic disease n = 4275) were analysed. The general population was significantly younger (44 ± 12 years, mean ± SD) and had significantly lower SAF (1.90 ± 0.42 arbitrary units (AU)) compared to the chronic disease population (age: 56 ± 12 years; SAF: 2.27 ± 0.51 AU). In the chronic disease group, more hours of moderate to vigorous physical activities per week were associated with a lower SAF (β = -0.002, 95% confidence interval (CI): -0.002 to -0.001). For the general population, there was no association between hours of moderate to vigorous activity and SAF (β = 3.2  × 10-5, 95%CI: 0.000 - 0.000, p = 0.742). However, there was an association in the general population between total hours of PA per week and SAF (β = 4.2 × 10-4, 95%CI: 0.000 - 0.001, p < 0.001), but this association was not found in the chronic disease population (β = -3.2 × 10-4, 95%CI: -0.001 to 0.000, p = 0.347).

CONCLUSION: Our study demonstrates that an inverse relation exists between PA and AGE accumulation in the chronic disease population. More hours of moderate to vigorous activity is associated with a significantly decreased SAF. More PA is associated with a lower SAF even after adjusting for the established predictors (age, BMI, smoking status, and sex). Our findings could help to promote health and prolong longevity.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of sport and health science
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25-Sep-2020

Cite this