Plasma antioxidants and longevity: A study on healthy centenarians

Patrizia Mecocci, M. Cristina Polidori, Leonarda Troiano, Antonio Cherubini, Roberta Cecchetti, Gabriella Pini, Marjanne Straatman, Daniela Monti, Wilhelm Stahl, Helmut Sies, Claudio Franceschi, Umberto Senin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A large body of experimental research indicates that oxidative stress contributes to the processes related to aging and to the pathogenesis of several age-related diseases. Vitamins and antioxidant enzymes have a fundamental role in defending the organism from oxidative stress. To better understand the role of antioxidants in human aging, we measured plasma levels of vitamin C (ascorbic acid), uric acid, vitamin E (α-tocopherol), vitamin A (retinol), carotenoids, total thiol groups, and the activity of plasma superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPX) as well as the activity of red blood cell (RBC) SOD in 32 healthy centenarians-17 elderly subjects aged 80-99 years, 34 elderly subjects aged 60-79 years, and 24 adults aged less than 60 years. Considering the 'noncentenarians' only, we observed a consistent behavior in the antioxidant pattern, with a decrease of the nonenzymatic antioxidants and an increase of the enzymatic antioxidant activities relative to age. Remarkably, centenarians were characterized as having the highest levels of vitamins A and E, whereas the activities of both plasma and RBC SOD, which increase with age, decreased in centenarians. From these results, it is evident that healthy centenarians show a particular profile in which high levels of vitamin A and vitamin E seem to be important in guaranteeing their extreme longevity. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1243-1248
Number of pages6
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Apr 15 2000


  • Aging
  • Antioxidant
  • Centenarians
  • Free radicals
  • Oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Toxicology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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