Healthy centenarians represent the best example of successful ageing. Various studies have shown that centenarians have escaped the major age-associated diseases, they have several well-conserved immune parameters and at least one gene allele has been identified and linked with their increased longevity. During ageing there is an accumulation of oxidised proteins, a phenomenon that has been related to an impaired function of the 20S proteasome in aged cells. We have, therefore, analysed the expression and the proteolytic activity of the proteasome in centenarian cells. Four fibroblast cultures derived from healthy centenarians were studied and compared with cultures derived from adult donors of different ages. Analysis of several proteasome subunits RNA expression levels, determination of one peptidase activity and identification of oxidised proteins in these samples revealed that centenarian cultures have a functional proteasome. In addition, it was found that the centenarian cultures exhibit characteristics similar to the younger rather than the older control donors derived cultures in all three assays. These data indicate that centenarian cells may be different from elderly donors cells, thus opening up new dimensions for the identification and characterisation of factors that are linked with longevity.