Successful aging, characterized by little or no loss in physiological functions, should be the usual aging process in centenarians. It is known that well-preserved physiological functions depend on the proper functioning of cell systems. In this article we focus on cell membrane integrity and study the red blood cell membrane to evaluate the effect of physiological aging in centenarians. Fifteen healthy, self-sufficient centenarians, mean age 103 years, were examined by assessing hemocytometric values and some relevant characteristics of the erythrocyte membrane, i.e., the cholesterol/phospholipid molar ratio, the distribution of phospholipid classes and their fatty acid composition, the integral and skeletal protein profiles. The centenarians showed a significant decrease in the red blood cell count (p < 0.0002), hemoglobin (p < 0.0002), and hematocrit (p < 0.0005). The red blood cell membrane showed a significantly increased cholesterol/phospholipid molar ratio (p < 0.01), with a concomitant increase in polyunsaturated fatty acids in phosphatidylcholine (p < 0.001) and, to a lesser extent, in phosphatidylethanolamine. The electrophoretic pattern of membrane proteins was qualitatively normal compared to controls but the densitometric analysis showed a significant increase in the integral protein band 4.2 (p < 0.05) and in the skeletal protein actin (p < 0.001). Extreme longevity seems to be associated with a substantial integrity of the erythrocyte membrane. Moreover, the evident increase in polyunsaturated fatty acids and in actin are likely to improve the membrane fluidity and to strengthen the membrane structure.
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|Titolo:||Aging and red blood cell membrane: A study of centenarians|
|Data di pubblicazione:||1999|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|