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1.  Shorter Men Live Longer: Association of Height with Longevity and FOXO3 Genotype in American Men of Japanese Ancestry 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e94385.
To determine the relation between height, FOXO3 genotype and age of death in humans.
Observational study of 8,003 American men of Japanese ancestry from the Honolulu Heart Program/Honolulu-Asia Aging Study (HHP/HAAS), a genetically and culturally homogeneous cohort followed for over 40 years. A Cox regression model with age as the time scale, stratified by year of birth, was used to estimate the effect of baseline height on mortality during follow-up. An analysis of height and longevity-associated variants of the key regulatory gene in the insulin/IGF-1 signaling (IIS) pathway, FOXO3, was performed in a HHP-HAAS subpopulation. A study of fasting insulin level and height was conducted in another HHP-HAAS subpopulation.
A positive association was found between baseline height and all-cause mortality (RR = 1.007; 95% CI 1.003–1.011; P = 0.002) over the follow-up period. Adjustments for possible confounding variables reduced this association only slightly (RR = 1.006; 95% CI 1.002–1.010; P = 0.007). In addition, height was positively associated with all cancer mortality and mortality from cancer unrelated to smoking. A Cox regression model with time-dependent covariates showed that relative risk for baseline height on mortality increased as the population aged. Comparison of genotypes of a longevity-associated single nucleotide polymorphism in FOXO3 showed that the longevity allele was inversely associated with height. This finding was consistent with prior findings in model organisms of aging. Height was also positively associated with fasting blood insulin level, a risk factor for mortality. Regression analysis of fasting insulin level (mIU/L) on height (cm) adjusting for the age both data were collected yielded a regression coefficient of 0.26 (95% CI 0.10–0.42; P = 0.001).
Height in mid-life is positively associated with mortality, with shorter stature predicting longer lifespan. Height was, moreover, associated with fasting insulin level and the longevity genotype of FOXO3, consistent with a mechanistic role for the IIS pathway.
PMCID: PMC4013008  PMID: 24804734
2.  FOXO3 Gene Variants and Human Aging: Coding Variants May Not Be Key Players 
FOXO3 is generally recognized as a “master” gene in aging since its association with longevity has been replicated in multiple organisms and human populations. A group of single nucleotide polymorphisms in linkage disequilibrium with a coding region has been associated with human longevity, but the actual functional variant is unidentified. Therefore, we sequenced the coding region in our long-lived Japanese American population in order to enhance resources for fine mapping this region. We demonstrate that of 38 published variants, 6 are misalignments with homologous nonallelic sequences from FOXO3B (ZNF286B), a pseudogene on a different chromosome; 2 are attributable to ZNF286B only, and the remaining 30 were unconfirmed, indicating that they are very rare and not likely involved in longevity. Furthermore, we identified a novel, unique, nonsynonymous coding variant in exon 3 (Gly566Ala; rs138174682) that is prevalent in multiple ethnic groups but appeared too rare for major longevity effects in our study populations.
PMCID: PMC3668389  PMID: 22459618
Aging; FOXO3; Genetic; Human longevity
3.  Very old adults with better memory function have higher low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and lower triglyceride to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratios: KOCOA project 
We examined cross-sectionally which lipid profiles are associated with better cognitive function among those aged 80 and older-free of dementia (Clinical Dementia Rating ≤ 0.5), functionally independent and community-dwelling. Our cohort consisted of 193 participants from the “Keys to Optimal Cognitive Aging (KOCOA) Project”, a prospective cohort study in Okinawa, Japan. Higher low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and lower triglyceride/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (TG/HDL-C) ratios were associated with higher scores in memory performance after controlling for confounders. Further research is required to clarify the associations among LDL-C levels, TG/HDL-C ratios, and healthy cognitive aging.
PMCID: PMC3586553  PMID: 23207484
Lipoprotein cholesterol; Aged 80 and over; Memory Disorders
4.  Metabolic Syndrome and Cognitive Decline Among the Oldest Old in Okinawa: In Search of a Mechanism. The KOCOA Project 
The study aim was to test whether the metabolic syndrome or its components predicted cognitive decline among persons aged 80 years and older (mean 85.0 years). Participants were members of the “Keys to Optimal Cognitive Aging Project,” a prospective cohort study in Okinawa, Japan. Metabolic syndrome was assessed at baseline. Cognitive functions were assessed annually for up to 3 years. One hundred and forty-eight participants completed at least one follow-up with 101 participating in all three assessments and 47 participating in two of the three assessments. The mean and median duration of follow-up were 1.8 and 2 years, respectively. Metabolic syndrome and four components were not associated with decline in global and executive cognitive functions. However, high glycosylated hemoglobin was associated with decline in memory function at the second follow-up. Our study supports accumulating evidence that the positive association between metabolic syndrome and cognitive function might not hold for the oldest old.
PMCID: PMC3261441  PMID: 22016359
Metabolic syndrome; Cognitive decline; Oldest old; Longitudinal study; Okinawa
5.  Extending healthy ageing: nutrient sensitive pathway and centenarian population 
Ageing is a challenge for any living organism and human longevity is a complex phenotype. With increasing life expectancy, maintaining long-term health, functionality and well-being during ageing has become an essential goal. To increase our understanding of how ageing works, it may be advantageous to analyze the phenotype of centenarians, perhaps one of the best examples of successful ageing. Healthy ageing involves the interaction between genes, the environment, and lifestyle factors, particularly diet. Besides evaluating specific gene-environment interactions in relation to exceptional longevity, it is important to focus attention on modifiable lifestyle factors such as diet and nutrition to achieve extension of health span. Furthermore, a better understanding of human longevity may assist in the design of strategies to extend the duration of optimal human health. In this article we briefly discuss relevant topics on ageing and longevity with particular focus on dietary patterns of centenarians and nutrient-sensing pathways that have a pivotal role in the regulation of life span. Finally, we also discuss the potential role of Nrf2 system in the pro-ageing signaling emphasizing its phytohormetic activation.
PMCID: PMC3379947  PMID: 22524452
6.  Comparisons of Plasma/Serum Micronutrients Between Okinawan and Oregonian Elders: A Pilot Study 
Certain micronutrients are protective against cognitive decline. We examined whether there is any uniform pattern of circulating micronutrients cross–culturally that are associated with successful cognitive aging. For the U.S. sample, we used the stored serum/plasma of 115 participants, collected in Oregon, USA. The Okinawa sample consisted of 49 participants selected using similar inclusion criteria as the Oregon sample, from the Keys to Optimal Cognitive Aging Project. All participants were aged 85 years and older without cognitive impairment. We found that the Okinawan elders used fewer vitamin supplements but had similar levels of vitamin B12 and α-tocopherol, lower folate and γ-tocopherol, compared with Oregonian elders. That is, we did not find a uniform pattern of circulating micronutrients, suggesting that micronutrients other than those examined here or other lifestyle factors than nutrition could play an important role in achieving successful cognitive aging.
PMCID: PMC3031451  PMID: 20643702
Oldest old; Circulating micronutrients; Healthy cognitive aging; Okinawa; Oregon
7.  Oxidative Stress and Longevity in Okinawa: An Investigation of Blood Lipid Peroxidation and Tocopherol in Okinawan Centenarians 
Background. The Free Radical Theory of Aging mechanistically links oxidative stress to aging. Okinawa has among the world's longest-lived populations but oxidative stress in this population has not been well characterized. Methods. We compared plasma lipid peroxide (LPO) and vitamin E—plasma and intracellular tocopherol levels (total α, β, and γ), in centenarians with younger controls. Results. Both LPO and vitamin E tocopherols were lower in centenarians, with the exception of intracellular β-tocopherol, which was significantly higher in centenarians versus younger controls. There were no significant differences between age groups for tocopherol: cholesterol and tocopherol: LPO ratios. Correlations were found between α-Tocopherol and LPO in septuagenarians but not in centenarians. Conclusions. The low plasma level of LPO in Okinawan centenarians, compared to younger controls, argues for protection against oxidative stress in the centenarian population and is consistent with the predictions of the Free Radical Theory of Aging. However, the present work does not strongly support a role for vitamin E in this phenomenon. The role of intracellular β-tocopherol deserves additional study. More research is needed on the contribution of oxidative stress and antioxidants to human longevity.
PMCID: PMC3068305  PMID: 21490698
8.  Physical Aspects of Healthy Aging: Assessments of Three Measures of Balance for Studies in Middle-Aged and Older Adults 
Objectives. To investigate the reliability and correlations with age of the balance components of the EPESE, NHANES, and the Good Balance Platform System (GBPS) in a normal population of adults. Design. Cross-sectional. Setting. Urban Medical Center in the Pacific. Participants. A random sample of 203 healthy offspring of Honolulu Heart Program participants, ages 38–71. Measurements. Subjects were examined twice at visits one week apart using the balance components of the EPESE, NHANES, and the good balance system tests. Results. The EPESE and NHANES batteries of tests were not sufficiently challenging to allow successful discrimination among subjects in good health, even older subjects. The GBPS allowed objective quantitative measurements, but the test-retest correlations generally were not high. The GBPS variables correlated with age only when subjects stood on a foam pad; they also were correlated with anthropometric variables. Conclusion. Both EPESE and NHANES balance tests were too easy for healthy subjects. The GBPS had generally low reliability coefficients except for the most difficult testing condition (foam pad, eyes closed). Both height and body fat were associated with GBPS scores, necessitating adjusting for these variables if using balance as a predictor of future health.
PMCID: PMC3062992  PMID: 21437003
9.  Genetic determinants of exceptional human longevity: insights from the Okinawa Centenarian Study 
Age  2006;28(4):313-332.
Centenarians represent a rare phenotype appearing in roughly 10–20 per 100,000 persons in most industrialized countries but as high as 40–50 per 100,000 persons in Okinawa, Japan. Siblings of centenarians in Okinawa have been found to have cumulative survival advantages such that female centenarian siblings have a 2.58-fold likelihood and male siblings a 5.43-fold likelihood (versus their birth cohorts) of reaching the age of 90 years. This is indicative of a strong familial component to longevity. Centenarians may live such extraordinarily long lives in large part due to genetic variations that either affect the rate of aging and/or have genes that result in decreased susceptibility to age-associated diseases. Some of the most promising candidate genes appear to be those involved in regulatory pathways such as insulin signaling, immunoinflammatory response, stress resistance or cardiovascular function. Although gene variants with large beneficial effects have been suggested to exist, only APOE, an important regulator of lipoproteins has been consistently associated with a longer human lifespan across numerous populations. As longevity is a very complex trait, several issues challenge our ability to identify its genetic influences, such as control for environmental confounders across time, the lack of precise phenotypes of aging and longevity, statistical power, study design and availability of appropriate study populations. Genetic studies on the Okinawan population suggest that Okinawans are a genetically distinct group that has several characteristics of a founder population, including less genetic diversity, and clustering of specific gene variants, some of which may be related to longevity. Further work on this population and other genetic isolates would be of significant interest to the genetics of human longevity.
PMCID: PMC3259160  PMID: 22253498
longevity; genetics; centenarians; Okinawa; longevity genes

Results 1-9 (9)