Genetic factors associated with the absence of Atherosclerosis in octogenarians

Giovanni Zuliani, Antonio Cherubini, Stefano Volpato, Elisabetta Palmieri, Patrizia Mecocci, Paola De Rango, Piergiorgio Cao, Fabrizio Costantini, Andrea Mezzetti, Francesco Mascoli, Umberto Senin, Renato Fellin

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Background. Atherosclerosis (ATS) is a common age-related disease of large arteries. The prevalence of older subjects with vascular successful aging (VaSA), defined as the absence of clinical symptoms and instrumental signs of ATS, is low in Western countries. The possible contribution of genetics to the VaSA phenomenon is not known. Methods. We investigated the distribution of four genetic polymorphisms (angiotensin converting enzyme [ACE], methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase [MTHFR], apolipoprotein E [apo E], and paraoxonase [PON] genes) in 30 subjects with VaSA, 30 subjects with moderate carotid atherosclerosis (ATS group), and 161 controls with a negative history for cardiovascular disease. Clinical examination; ultrasonographic examination of carotid, vertebral, abdominal aortic, iliac, and femoral arteries; and electrocardiogram were performed. Results. The frequency of PON 192 B allele was lower in VaSA patients (13%) compared with ATS patients (37%) and controls (46%) (p = .06 and .006, respectively); B/B homozygotes were 27% in the ATS group, 12% in controls, and 0% in the VaSA group. The frequency of the MTHFR thermolable + allele was higher in VaSA (0.51) compared with ATS (0.39) and controls (0.40) (VaSA vs C, p = .006). No differences in the distribution of ACE I/D and apo E alleles emerged between the three groups. Conclusions. The low prevalence of the PON 192 B allele in the VaSA subjects suggests that this polymorphism might have an important role in VaSA, probably by hydrolyzing lipid peroxides and thus preventing low-density lipoprotein from undergoing the oxidative modification. This finding further supports the oxidative hypothesis of ATS.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing


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