Genes involved in lipid composition have collectively undergone increased selective pressure in long-lived species, reinforcing the suggestion that cell membrane and its lipid content has been an optimized feature during evolution.
Indeed, membrane fatty acid composition differs between animal species and the susceptibility to oxidative damage of membrane lipids is inversely related to the maximum longevity.
Moreover, in the last years lipids have been conceived as information-carrying molecules because of their implication in signaling processes, including cell-stress responses, cell survival or inflammation.
Jové M et al. (2016) show that it is possible to define a lipidomic signature only using 20 lipid species to discriminate adult, aged and centenarian subjects obtaining an almost perfect accuracy (90%-100%).
In their interesting paper, they propose specific lipid species belonging to ceramides, widely involved in cell-stress response, as biomarkers of extreme human longevity. Moreover, extreme longevity presents a fatty acid profile resistant to lipid peroxidation.
Data show that lipidomic signature is an optimized feature associated with extreme human longevity, with specific lipid molecular species and lipid unsaturation arising as potential biomarkers of longevity. In fact, extreme longevity is significantly associated with higher average chain length and saturated fatty acid content, and a lower content of unsaturated fatty acids, in particular polyunsaturated fatty acids.
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