Correlations With Species Longevity Found in the Lipidome

The membrane pacemaker hypothesis suggests that one of the most important links between biology and longevity is the composition of cell and organelle membranes. If membranes are more resistant to oxidative damage then the result will be greater longevity. Differing levels of resistance can emerge in different species because of differing proportions of various lipids that make up membrane structures: some lipids are less vulnerable to peroxidation than others. Here, researchers demonstrate a good correlation between lipid profiles and longevity:

Membrane lipid composition is an important correlate of the rate of aging of animals and, therefore, the determination of their longevity. In the present work, the use of high-throughput technologies allowed us to determine the plasma lipidomic profile of 11 mammalian species ranging in maximum longevity from 3.5 to 120 years. The non-targeted approach revealed a species-specific lipidomic profile that accurately predicts the animal longevity.

The regression analysis between lipid species and longevity demonstrated that the longer the longevity of a species, the lower is its plasma long-chain free fatty acid (LC-FFA) concentrations, peroxidizability index, and lipid peroxidation-derived products content. The inverse association between longevity and LC-FFA persisted after correction for body mass and phylogenetic interdependence. These results indicate that the lipidomic signature is an optimized feature associated with animal longevity, emerging LC-FFA as a potential biomarker of longevity.



So... How do we alter our membrane lipid profile? Eat lots of coconut oil or other medium chain triglycerides? I'm not sure I want to trade in my omega-3 lc-ffa for saturated fats.

Posted by: Carl at November 29th, 2013 9:17 AM

@Carl: we don't. The thing I take away from this sort of research is that it is principally confirmation that, yes, mitochondria are important and we should be doing more to repair them. Mitochondrial function and everything that depends on that seems to be the most important consequence of better or worse membranes, or at least that is the consensus as I understand it.

Posted by: Reason at November 29th, 2013 9:35 AM

I would really like to know what if any is the difference in membrane lipids between neurons and their organelles and other cells in the body. As far as we know barring disease, neurons may very well exceed the 120ish year human lifespan(it would also be interesting to see what the difference is also when compared to bowhead whales which evidence suggest can live over 200 years... if differences are minor, then it may be the case that higher mammal neurons barring disease exhibit negligible senescence). If neurons have differing lipid composition to other cells in the body, other cells in the body could likely attain similar composition by merely altering gene expression(as the requisite genes would have to be there in case of a different composition in neurons).

Posted by: Darian Smith at November 29th, 2013 3:16 PM

Researching more into neurons it seems that they've a substantial content of polyunsaturated fatty acids that may be subject to oxidative damage. It seems that higher than normal antioxidant defenses are used to protect these membranes, iirc.

Posted by: Darian Smith at February 5th, 2014 9:20 AM
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