Relationship between mitochondrial DNA mutations and aging. Estimation of age- At-death

Sara C. Zapico, Douglas H. Ubelaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Some studies have pointed to the relationship between mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations and age in different tissues, which are potentially interesting in aging research and in forensic identification because they could help to improve the estimation of age- At-death. The present study aims to evaluate the mutations in mtDNA from dentin and pulp and their relation with age. Healthy erupted third molars were extracted from individuals from two Spanish populations, aged 20-70. When analyzing the amplification of hypervariable region 2 of the mtDNA by real- Time polymerase chain reaction, a negative strong linear correlation was found between the mtDNA amplification and age in dentin from both populations. In contrast, a significant correlation between mtDNA amplification and age in pulp was not discovered, probably due to the majority of the mitochondria are placed in dentin. A difference in mtDNA damage between these two populations was also detected, indicating the role of ancestry as a component. The findings from this research enrich the current studies related to aging and mitochondrial damage and provide a new quantitative tool for estimating the age- At-death that, in combination with traditional age markers, could improve identification accuracy in forensic cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-450
Number of pages6
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


  • Age-free radicals
  • Dentin
  • HV2
  • MtDNA mutations


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