Protein Carbamylation: A Marker Reflecting Increased Age-Related Cell Oxidation

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Carbamylation is a post-translational modification of proteins that may partake in the oxidative stress-associated cell damage, and its increment has been recently proposed as a “hallmark of aging”. The molecular mechanisms associated with aging are related to an increased release of free radicals. We have studied whether carbamylated proteins from the peripheral blood of healthy subjects are related to oxidative damage and aging, taking into account the gender and the immune profile of the subjects. The study was performed in healthy human volunteers. The detection of protein carbamylation and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels was evaluated using commercial kits. The immune profile was calculated using parameters of immune cell function. The results show that the individuals from the elderly group (60–79 years old) have increased carbamylated protein and MDA levels. When considered by gender, only men between 60 and 79 years old showed significantly increased carbamylated proteins and MDA levels. When those subjects were classified by their immune profile, the carbamylated protein levels were higher in those with an older immune profile. In conclusion, the carbamylation of proteins in peripheral blood is related to age-associated oxidative damage and to an aging functional immunological signature. Our results suggest that carbamylated proteins may play an important role at the cellular level in the aging process.