Association of mitochondrial DNA copy number with self-rated health status

Paul Y. Takahashi, Gregory D. Jenkins, Benjamin P. Welkie, Shannon K. McDonnell, Jared M. Evans, James R. Cerhan, Janet E. Olson, Stephen N. Thibodeau, Mine S. Cicek, Euijung Ryu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In aging adults, mitochondrial dysfunction may be an important contributor. We evaluated the association between mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copy number, which is a biomarker for mitochondrial function, and self-rated health status. Patients and methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of patients enrolled within the Mayo Clinic Biobank. We utilized the questionnaire and sequence data from 944 patients. We examined the association between mtDNA copy number and self-rated health status with 3 collapsed categories for the latter variable (excellent/very good, good, and fair/poor). For analysis, we used proportional odds models after log-transforming mtDNA copy number, and we adjusted for age and sex. Results: We found the median age at enrollment was 61 years (25th–75th percentile: 51–71), and 64% reported excellent or very good health, 31% reported good health, and 6% reported fair/poor health. Overall, the median mtDNA copy number was 88.9 (25th–75th percentile: 77.6–101.1). Higher mtDNA copy number was found for subjects reporting better self-rated health status after adjusting for age, sex, and comorbidity burden (OR =2.3 [95% CI: 1.2–4.5] for having better self-rated health for a one-unit increase in log-transformed mtDNA copy number). Conclusion: We found that a higher mtDNA copy number is associated with better self-rated health status after adjustment for age, sex, and comorbidity burden. The current study implies that mtDNA copy number may serve as a biomarker for self-reported health. Further studies, potentially including cohort studies, may be required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-127
Number of pages7
JournalApplication of Clinical Genetics
StatePublished - 2018


  • Mitochondrial DNA copy number
  • Personalized medicine
  • Self-rated health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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