Advancing age has been found to be associated with a decline in insulin action. Nevertheless, no study has been conducted in healthy centenarians. Our study investigates glucose tolerance and insulin action in centenarians. Fifty-two subjects were enrolled. The subjects were divided in three groups as follows: 1) adults (< 50 yr; n = 20);2) aged subjects (> 75 yr; n = 22); and 3) centenarians (> 100 yr; n = 14). Body composition was studied by bioimpedance analysis. In all subjects, an oral glucose tolerance test and euglycemic glucose clamp were performed. Centenarians have a lower fat-free mass (FFM) than aged subjects and adults, whereas fasting plasma glucose, triglycerides, free fatty acids, urea, and creatinine were not different in the groups studies. Centenarians had a 2-h plasma glucose concentration (6.0 +/- 0.2 mmol/l) that was lower than that in aged subjects (6.6 +/- 0.5 mmol/l, P < 0.05) but not different from adults [6.4 +/- 0.4 mmol/l, P = not significant (NS)]. During the clamp, plasma glucose and insulin concentrations were similar in the three groups. In these conditions, centenarians had a whole body glucose disposal (34.1 +/- 0.6 mumol.kg FFM-1.min 1) that was greater than that in aged subjects (23.3 +/- 0.5 mumol.kg FFM-1.min-1 P < 0.01) but not different from adults (34.6 +/- 0.5 mumol/kg x min, P = NS). In conclusion, our study demonstrates that centenarians compared with aged subjects had a preserved glucose tolerance and insulin action.