Endotoxemia-induced inflammation has been associated with insulin resistance and atherosclerosis, ultimately increasing the risk of coronary heart disease. Increased intestinal permeability is an important event leading to endotoxemia. This study aims to elucidate the possible association between endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide) and zonulin (a biomarker of intestinal permeability) levels and the risk of coronary heart disease, and thus healthy aging. Serum levels of zonulin, lipopolysaccharide and soluble CD14 (a protein that binds lipopolysaccharide) were measured in disease-free centenarians, young healthy controls and patients with precocious acute myocardial infarction. Disease-free centenarians had significantly lower levels of serum zonulin (P<0.01) and lipopolysaccharide (P<0.001) than young patients with acute myocardial infarction, and had significantly lower concentrations of serum lipopolysaccharide than young healthy controls (P<0.05). No significant differences were found for soluble CD14 between groups. Our findings may stimulate further research into the role played by intestinal permeability and endotoxemia not only in coronary heart disease but also in lifespan modulation.
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