Metabolic Syndrome in an Aging Society - Role of Oxidant-Antioxidant Imbalance and Inflammation Markers in Disentangling Atherosclerosis

Clin Interv Aging. 2021 Jun 9;16:1057-1070. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S306982. eCollection 2021.


Introduction: The prevalence of metabolic syndrome among the elderly population is growing. The elements of metabolic syndrome in an aging society are currently being researched. Atherosclerosis is a slow process in which the first symptoms may be observed after many years. The mechanisms underlying the progression of atherosclerosis are oxidative stress and inflammation. Inflammation and oxidative stress are associated with the increased incidence of metabolic syndrome. Taking the above into consideration, metabolic syndrome is thought to be a clinical equivalent of atherosclerosis.

Aim: The aim of this paper is to review the impact of the interplay of oxidant-antioxidant and inflammation markers in metabolic syndrome in general as well as its components in the pathophysiology which underlies development of atherosclerosis in elderly individuals.

Methods: A systematic scan of online resources designed for elderly (≥65 years) published from 2005 to the end of 2020 were reviewed. This was supplemented with grey literature and then all resources were narratively analyzed. The analysis included the following terms: "atherosclerosis or metabolic syndrome" and "oxidative stress or inflammation" and "elderly" to find reports of atherosclerotic disease from asymptomatic to life-threatening among the elderly population with metabolic syndrome .

Results: The work summarizes articles that were applicable to this study, including systematic reviews, qualitative studies and opinion pieces. Current knowledge focuses on monitoring the inflammation and oxidant-antioxidant imbalance in disentangling atherosclerosis in patients diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. The population-based studies described inflammation, increased oxidative stress and weak antioxidant defense systems as the mechanisms underlying atherosclerosis development. Moreover, there are discussions that these targets could potentially be a point of intervention to reduce the development of atherosclerosis in the elderly, especially those with altered glucose and lipid metabolism. Specific markers may be used as an approach for the prevention and lifestyle modification of atherosclerotic disease in such population.

Conclusion: Metabolic syndrome and its components are important contributors in the progression of atherosclerotic disease in the elderly population but constant efforts should be made to broaden our knowledge of elderly groups who are the most susceptible for the development of atherosclerosis complications.

Keywords: aging; atherosclerosis; inflammation; metabolic syndrome; oxidant-antioxidant balance.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology
  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Atherosclerosis / metabolism*
  • Atherosclerosis / physiopathology
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Oxidants / metabolism*
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology


  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers
  • Oxidants