Journal Article

Angiotensin I-Converting Enzyme (ACE) gene polymorphism in relation to physical performance, cognition and survival: a follow-up study of elderly Danish twins

Frederiksen, H., Gaist, D., Bathum, L., Andersen, K., McGue, M., Vaupel, J. W., Christensen, K.

Annals of Epidemiology, 13:1, 57-65 (2003)

Keywords: epidemiology, genetics, survival, twins


PURPOSE: Studies of younger individuals have suggested an association between ACE genotype and physical and cognitive performance. Using a longitudinal study of elderly twins we studied the association between ACE genotype and physical and cognitive functioning and survival in old age. METHODS: Participants were 684 twins aged 73+ years from the 1997 and 1999 surveys of the Longitudinal Study of Aging Danish Twins. Cognitive skills were assessed by the MMSE, while physical abilities were determined through self-report in 1997 and through both self-report and measurement of performance in two physical tasks in 1999. Survival status was obtained through linkage with a national death register. RESULTS: Neither physical nor cognitive performance was associated with ACE genotype at baseline in 1997, or at follow-up in 1999. For participants in both surveys longitudinal changes in these skills did not depend on ACE genotype. The relative risk of dying was increased in II compared with the DI and DD genotype with relative risks of 1.6 (95 percent confidence intervals 1.1–2.5) and 1.3 (0.8–2.1), respectively. CONCLUSION: We found no substantial effects of ACE genotype on physical and cognitive performance, or rate of change among elderly. Persons with the D allele may have a lower mortality at older ages.