Lipoprotein metabolism in Japanese centenarians: effects of apolipoprotein E polymorphism and nutritional status

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2001 Nov;49(11):1434-41. doi: 10.1046/j.1532-5415.2001.4911234.x.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over*
  • Apolipoproteins E / blood
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Carrier Proteins / blood
  • Cholesterol Ester Transfer Proteins
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment*
  • Glycoproteins*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / blood
  • Japan
  • Lipids / blood
  • Lipoproteins / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Nutritional Status
  • Phenotype
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics*


  • Apolipoproteins E
  • CETP protein, human
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cholesterol Ester Transfer Proteins
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Glycoproteins
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Lipids
  • Lipoproteins