Increased low-density lipoprotein peroxidation in elderly men

Claudio Napoli, Pasquale Abete, Gaetano Corso, Antonio Malorni, Alfredo Postiglione, Giuseppe Ambrosio, Francesco Cacciatore, Franco Rengo, Giuseppe Palumbo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Oxidative modification of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) appears to play a pivotal role in atherogenesis. The specific role played by LDL peroxidation in aging is not known. Since estrogens may protect LDL from peroxidation in vitro and in vivo, we chose to investigate only men of various ages. Objective: To determine whether LDL from healthy elderly men was differently susceptible to peroxidation than LDL of young and adult men. Subjects and methods: LDL was isolated from 15 normolipidemic young (aged 19-23 years), 17 adult (aged 35-55 years), and 16 elderly (aged 77-90 years) healthy men. None of the men included in the study was a smoker or a hypertensive, LDL peroxidation was achieved by exposure to 5 μmol/l copper sulfate for 18 h at 37°C, and some markers of lipid peroxidation (estimating various levels of peroxidation) were evaluated. Results: The levels of lipid peroxides in LDL from our elderly men were already higher under basal conditions than were those both of adult and of young men. LDL from elderly men was more susceptible to peroxidation than was that of adult and young men. Furthermore, the lag time correlated inversely to age (r = -0.68, P <0.01), whereas lipid peroxide and malonyldialdehyde levels correlated highly to age (r = 0.79 and r = 0.77, P <0.0002 and P <0.0012, respectively). With aging the vitamin E content in LDL decreased whereas the arachidonic fatty acid content increased. More importantly, the relationship between the vitamin E content and the lag time made evident the parallel increase in lag time and in vitamin E level with aging. The vitamin E concentration also correlated inversely to levels of thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances in LDL from elderly patients (r = -0.61, P <0.05). Conclusions: The present study shows that LDL peroxidation increases with age. This phenomenon may favor the progression of atherosclerosis in elderly men.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-136
Number of pages8
JournalCoronary Artery Disease
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • Aging
  • Arachidonic acid
  • Low-density lipoprotein
  • Oxidation
  • Oxygen radicals
  • Vitamin E

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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