Objective: Healthy centenarians have a greater molar ratio of plasma insulin-like growth factor-1 to insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 than that of aged subjects. We investigated the question of whether differences in mean arterial pressure and in this plasma ratio were related in healthy centenarians.
Subjects and methods: We studied 52 subjects in total, 30 aged subjects (70-99 years) and 22 healthy centenarians (> 100 years) to determine differences in mean arterial pressure, endothelial function and intracellular cation levels.
Results: In the healthy centenarians, the molar ratio of fasting plasma insulin-like growth factor-1 to its binding protein-3 was significantly correlated with mean arterial pressure (r = -0.66, P < 0.001). Baseline (19.3 +/- 1.5 versus 27.6 +/- 2.2 mumol/l, P < 0.05) and L-arginine-stimulated percentage increases in the plasma total nitrate: nitrite ratio (67 +/- 3.4 versus 48 +/- 4.5%, P < 0.03) were greater in the healthy centenarians than in the aged subjects. An L-arginine bolus elicited an increase in forearm blood flow which was correlated with the percentage increase in the plasma total nitrate: nitrite ratio (r = 0.79, P < 0.001) and with the fasting erythrocyte magnesium concentration (r = 0.80, P < 0.001) in healthy centenarians. Both correlations remained significant (P < 0.01) after adjustment for sex, body mass index and the waist: hip ratio. Moreover, the fasting plasma molar ratio of insulin-like growth factor-1 to its binding protein-3 was correlated with the percentage increase in forearm blood flow (r = 0.59, P < 0.005) and with the percentage increase in the plasma total nitrate: nitrite ratio (r = 0.54, P < 0.009) in healthy centenarians. The centenarians had higher baseline total erythrocyte magnesium and lower calcium concentrations than the aged subjects. The addition of insulin growth factor-1 to the incubation medium increased the total intracellular erythrocyte magnesium content and decreased the calcium content in both groups of subjects. Nevertheless, the percentage increase in total erythrocyte magnesium (33 +/- 3.8 versus 12 +/- 3.4%, P < 0.03) and decline in intracellular calcium (17 +/- 2.8 versus 8 +/- 3.1%, P < 0.02) concentrations were greater in the healthy centenarians than the aged subjects.
Conclusion: In healthy centenarians, insulin-like growth factor-1 may preserve endothelial function and modulate the intracellular cation content, thus contributing to a lower mean arterial pressure than that in aged subjects.