Endothelial Aging Associated with Oxidative Stress Can Be Modulated by a Healthy Mediterranean Diet
Ageing is associated with increased inflammatory activity in the blood. The purpose of this study was to investigate if age-related increased plasma levels of TNF-alpha were associated with atherosclerosis in a cohort of 130 humans aged 81 years. The elderly cohort had increased circulating levels of TNF-alpha, C-reactive protein (CRP), total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and a low high-density lipoprotein (HDL)/TC ratio compared with a young control group (n = 44). The elderly cohort was divided by tertiles into three subgroups with low, intermediate, and high levels of TNF-alpha, respectively. In the group with high TNF-alpha concentrations a significantly larger proportion had clinical diagnoses of atherosclerosis. Furthermore, weak correlations were found between TNF-alpha on one hand and blood concentrations of triglycerides, leucocytes, CRP and a low HDL/TC ratio on the other which are known as risk factors of atherogenesis and thromboembolic complications. No correlations were found between TNF-alpha, TC, LDL, or the body mass index. In conclusion, the present study shows that in a cohort of 81-year-old humans, high levels of TNF-alpha in the blood were associated with a high prevalence of atherosclerosis.