Age is associated with an enhanced low density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation and atherosclerosis, thus, subjects over 80 years without cardiovascular disease provide a model to investigate the protective factors against atherosclerosis. Serum paraoxonase (PON1), an high density lipoprotein (HDL)-bound enzyme, prevents LDL oxidation.
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the contribution of the PON1 promoter T(-107)C and coding region Gln192Arg (Q192R) and Leu55Met (L55M) polymorphisms to the resistance to develop cardiovascular events in Sicilian healthy octogenarians. Distribution of PON1 genotypes and activity, and biochemical parameters, were compared between 100 octogenarians and 200 adults. Individuals in the elderly group displayed significant higher levels of HDL-C (P<0.001) and PON1 activity (P<0.001). The analysis of PON1 genotypes distribution showed an higher percentage of (-107)CC among octogenarians compared with controls. A significant difference among T(-107)C genotypes respect to PON1 activity and HDL-C levels occurred in both groups. The CC genotype was associated with higher PON1 activity and HDL levels compared to the TT genotypes.
In conclusion, our results provide a strong evidence that in healthy Sicilians ageing may be characterized by a low frequency of PON1 (-107)T ‘risk’ allele and by an high frequency of favourable genotypes such as (-107)CC, influencing PON1 activity and HDL-C levels.