Introduction: Centenarians are reservoirs of genetic and environmental information to successful ageing and local centenarian groups may help us to understand some of these secrets. The current centenarian cohort in Belfast survived the 1970s epidemic of death from coronary heart disease in Northern Ireland, where cardiovascular mortality was almost highest in the world. These centenarians provided an opportunity to assess biological and genetic factors important in cardiovascular risk and ageing. Methods: Thirty-five (27 female, 8 male) centenarians, participants of the Belfast Elderly Longitudinal Free-living Ageing STudy (BELFAST), were community-living and of good cognition at enrolment. Results: Centenarians showed median Body Mass Index (BMI) at 25.7, systolic blood pressure 140mmHg and diastolic blood pressure 90mmHg respectively, and fasting glucose of 5.54mmol/l with no sex-related difference. Lipoproteins showed median cholesterol 5.3, High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) 1.10 and Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) 3.47mmol/l respectively. Centenarian smokers showed no different blood pressure or lipid measurements compared with non-smokers. Malondialdehyde, a measure of lipid peroxidation, was low at 1.19 umol/l, and measures of antioxidant status showed variable results. Male centenarians did not carry any of the vascular risk genotypes studied ApoE4 for Apolipoprotein E (ApoE), DD for Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE), and TT for Methylene Tetrafolate-dehydrogenase reductase (MTHFR), though this is not true for female centenarians. Conclusions: This small local study shows, that Belfast centenarians carry a reasonably favourable risk profile with respect to cardiovascular disease. There is also some evidence suggesting that vascular risk factors and genotypes may be tolerated differently between the male and female centenarians. Maintaining an optimal cardiovascular risk profile seems likely to improve the chance of becoming a centenarian, especially for males.
Keywords: Centenarians, BELFAST, ApoE, ACE, cholesterol, anti-oxidants, malondiadehyde, mortality
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