BACKGROUND: Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) accumulate in tissues with age and in conditions such as diabetes mellitus and chronic kidney disease (CKD), and they may be involved in age-related diseases. Skin AGEs measured as skin autofluorescence (SAF) are a noninvasive reflection of long-term AGE accumulation in tissues. Whether AGEs present in the diet (dAGEs) contribute to tissue AGEs is unclear. OBJECTIVES: Our aim was to investigate the association between dietary and skin AGEs in the Rotterdam Study, a population-based cohort of mainly European ancestry. METHODS: In 2515 participants, intake of 3 dAGEs [carboxymethyl-lysine (CML), N-(5-hydro-5-methyl-4-imidazolon-2-yl)-ornithine (MGH1), and carboxyethyl-lysine (CEL)] was estimated using FFQs and the content of AGEs measured in commonly consumed foods. SAF was measured 5 y (median value) later using an AGE Reader. The association of dAGEs with SAF was analyzed in linear regression models and stratified for diabetes and chronic kidney disease (CKD, defined as estimated glomerular filtration rate ≤60 mL/min) status. RESULTS: Mean ± SD intake was 3.40 ±0.89 mg/d for CML, 28.98 ±7.87 mg/d for MGH1, and 3.11 ±0.89 mg/d for CEL. None of them was associated with SAF in the total study population. However, in stratified analyses, CML was positively associated with SAF after excluding both individuals with diabetes and individuals with CKD: 1 SD higher daily CML intake was associated with a 0.03 (95% CI: 0.009, 0.05) arbitrary units higher SAF. MGH1 and CEL intake were not significantly associated with SAF. Nevertheless, the associations were stronger when the time difference between dAGEs and SAF measurements was shorter. CONCLUSIONS: Higher dietary CML intake was associated with higher SAF only among participants with neither diabetes nor CKD, which may be explained by high AGE formation in diabetes and decreased excretion in CKD or by dietary modifications in these disease groups. The dAGE-SAF associations were also modified by the time difference between measurements. Our results suggest that dAGEs can influence tissue AGE accumulation and possibly thereby age-related diseases. This trial was registered at the Netherlands National Trial Register as NTR6831 ( and at the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform as NTR6831 (

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Keywords N-(5-hydro-5-methyl-4-imidazolon-2-yl)-ornithine, advanced glycation end products (AGEs), carboxyethyl-lysine, carboxymethyl-lysine, diet, skin autofluorescence
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Journal The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Chen, J. (Jinluan), Waqas, K. (Komal), Tan, R.C. (Robby Carlo), Voortman, R.G, Ikram, M.A, Nijsten, T.E.C, … Zillikens, M.C. (2020). The association between dietary and skin advanced glycation end products: the Rotterdam Study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 112(1), 129–137. doi:10.1093/ajcn/nqaa117