Occupational Years of Service and Leukocyte Epigenetic Aging: Relationships in United States Firefighters

Jamaji C. Nwanaji-Enwerem, Andres Cardenas, Jaclyn M. Goodrich, Melissa A. Furlong, Alesia M. Jung, Philip A. Collender, Alberto J. Caban-Martinez, Casey Grant, Shawn C. Beitel, Sally Littau, Derek J. Urwin, Jamie J. Gabriel, Jeff Hughes, John Gulotta, Darin Wallentine, Jefferey L. Burgess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of the study is to examine associations between years of firefighting service and eight chronological age-adjusted measures of blood leukocyte epigenetic age acceleration: Horvath, Hannum, SkinBloodClock, Intrinsic, Extrinsic, PhenoAge, GrimAge, and DNAm telomere length. Methods The study used a repeated measures analysis of data from 379 incumbent firefighters from eight career departments and 100 recruit firefighters from two of the departments, across the United States. Results Incumbent firefighters had on average greater epigenetic age acceleration compared with recruit firefighters, potentially due to the cumulative effect of occupational exposures. However, among incumbent firefighters, additional years of service were associated with epigenetic age deceleration, particularly for GrimAge, a strong predictor of mortality. Conclusions Long-term studies with more specific occupational exposure classification are needed to better understand the relationship between years of service and aging biomarkers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E312-E318
JournalJournal of occupational and environmental medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2023


  • DNA methylation
  • EMS
  • EMT
  • epigenetic age
  • healthy worker effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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