Evidence for the free radical/oxidative stress theory of ageing from the CHANCES consortium: a meta-analysis of individual participant data
The free radical/oxidative stress theory of ageing has received considerable attention, but the evidence on the association of oxidative stress markers with mortality is sparse.
We measured derivatives of reactive oxygen metabolite (D-ROM) levels as a proxy for the reactive oxygen species concentration and total thiol levels (TTL) as a proxy for the redox control status in 10,622 men and women (age range, 45–85 years), from population-based cohorts from Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, and Lithuania, of whom 1,702 died during follow-up.
Both oxidative stress markers were significantly associated with all-cause mortality independently from established risk factors (including inflammation) and from each other in all cohorts. Regarding cause-specific mortality, compared to low D-ROM levels (≤340 Carr U), very high D-ROM levels (>500 Carr U) were strongly associated with both cardiovascular (relative risk (RR), 5.09; 95 % CI, 2.67–9.69) and cancer mortality (RR, 4.34; 95 % CI, 2.31–8.16). TTL was only associated with CVD mortality (RR, 1.30; 95 % CI, 1.15–1.48, for one-standard-deviation-decrease). The strength of the association of TTL with CVD mortality increased with age of the participants (RR for one-standard-deviation-decrease in those aged 70–85 years was 1.65; 95 % CI, 1.22–2.24).
In these four population-based cohort studies from Central and Eastern Europe, the oxidative stress serum markers D-ROM and TTL were independently and strongly associated with all-cause and CVD mortality. In addition, D-ROM levels were also strongly associated with cancer mortality. This study provides epidemiological evidence supporting the free radical/oxidative stress theory of ageing and suggests that d-ROMs and TTL are useful oxidative stress markers associated with premature mortality.