Lipoprotein(a) and lipoprotein profile in healthy centenarians: A reappraisal of vascular risk factors

G. Baggio, S. Donazzan, D. Monti, D. Mari, S. Martini, C. Gabelli, M. Dalla Vestra, L. Previato, M. Guido, S. Pigozzo, I. Cortella, G. Crepaldi, C. Franceschi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study we assessed whether widely accepted risk factors for atherosclerotic vascular diseases such as lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)], a cholesterol-rich lipoprotein under strict genetical control, and other lipid parameters change with age. The variations of blood levels and the pathophysiological role of Lp(a) in old people, and particularly in the oldest old, are unknown. Accordingly, we measured Lp(a) levels as well as total, LDL, and HDL cholesterol (CT), and triglycerides (TG) in sera from 75 healthy centenarians, 114 randomly selected subjects under 65 years, 73 randomly selected elderly people, and 30 healthy selected elderly people. The results showed that Lp(a) serum levels did not vary by age group, including centenarians. Remarkably, onequarter of the centenarians had high Lp(a) serum levels even though they never suffered from atherosclerosisrelated diseases. At variance with young and aged people, centenarians with high Lp(a) serum levels also had high plasma concentrations of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-6, suggesting that genetic control of the Lp(a) serum level may attenuate with age and that environmental factors such as chronic subclinical inflammatory processes may play a role. We also showed that most centenarians are paradoxically characterized by low HDL-CT and relatively high TG levels, which together are considered to be strong risk factors for coronary heart disease. On the whole, these data support the hypothesis that a continuous and complex reshaping of lipid metabolism occurs in physiological aging, likely contributing to successful aging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-437
Number of pages5
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • Aging
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Interleukin 6
  • Lipoproteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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