Objectives: To assess the complex interaction of apolipoprotein (apo) E polymorphisms and environmental factors on lipoprotein profile in centenarians.
Design: Cross-sectional analysis.
Setting: Tokyo metropolitan area.
Participants: Seventy-five centenarians and 73 healthy older volunteers (mean age 63.1 +/- 10.0) living in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
Measurements: Plasma lipids and lipoproteins, cholesteryl ester transfer protein mass, apo E phenotype, body mass index, nutritional indices (serum albumin, prealbumin, transferrin), dietary intake, inflammation markers (C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6)), activities of daily living, and cognitive function.
Results: In comparison with older people, the centenarians had low concentrations of total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and a relative predominance of high-density lipoprotein 2 cholesterol. No environmental factor, except the number of apo E epsilon2 alleles, was a significant determinant of LDL-C and apo B, suggesting that the low apo B-containing lipoprotein in centenarians may be attributable to a genetic cause. Centenarians had elevated levels of lipoprotein (a) and decreased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), which seem to be an unfavorable lipoprotein profile. Lower levels of HDL-C in the centenarians were associated with decreased serum albumin, elevated CRP and IL-6 levels, and cognitive impairment, suggesting that HDL-C could be a sensitive marker for frailty and comorbidity in the oldest old.
Conclusions: Low levels of apo B-containing lipoproteins attributable to a genetic cause may be advantageous for longevity. Lipoprotein profiles in centenarians were consistently related to the subjects' nutritional status, inflammation markers, and apo E polymorphisms. The results provide evidence for the importance of maintaining nutritional status in the very old.