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Longevity Linked to Cholesterol Transporter Gene Variant

Variant also associated with preservation of cognitive function

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with a variant of a cholesterol transport gene have a better chance of longevity to nearly 100 years of age as well as preservation of cognitive function in old age than those without the gene variant, according to a study in the Dec. 26 issue of Neurology.

Nir Barzilai, M.D., and colleagues from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, N.Y., examined the association between a variant of the cholesterol ester transfer protein (CETP), longevity, and preservation of cognitive function in 158 Ashkenazi Jews with a mean age of 99 years. Cognitive function was assessed by the Mini-Mental State Examination, and a score of more than 25 was considered good.

The researchers found that the VV variant (patients homozygous for I405V) was strongly associated with good cognitive function. Those with the variant had significantly lower levels of CETP, significantly larger lipoprotein particles, and significantly higher levels of high-density lipoprotein. The results were confirmed in an independent group of 124 Ashkenazi Jews between 75 and 85 years old, and were associated with better memory and less dementia.

"Using two independent cohorts, we implicate the longevity CETP gene as a modulator of age-related cognitive function," Barzilai and colleagues conclude. "A specific CETP genotype is associated with lower CETP levels and a favorable lipoprotein profile."

Abstract
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