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Centenarians are individuals who have reached the age of 100 years. Countless studies have been undertaken to better understand just how these individuals are aging so well. As such, a recent study has suggested that a gene found in centenarians may be the key to a longer life, as it contains heart-protective properties. 

A Centenarian Longevity Gene

BPIFB4 is a mutant gene that’s been identified in older adults with exceptional longevity, with previous research indicating that it has a protective effect on one’s cardiovascular health. Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, with the condition even surpassing COVID-19’s mortality rate.

If you really want to improve your longevity, then you need to focus on your heart health. 

As previous research has indicated BPIFB4’s heart-protective properties, researchers set out to determine if the supplementation of BPIFB4 may delay the heart’s spontaneous aging.

BPIFB4 for better heart aging

For the study, published in Cardiovascular Research, researchers administered BPIFB4 to the heart cells of elderly patients with severe heart problems. The study was previously done in elderly mice, whose hearts exhibited the same alterations observed in elderly patients. The researchers found that BPIFB4 rewound the mouse’s heart’s biological clock age by the human equivalent of more than ten years.

Now back to the in vivo study. After the administration of BPIFB4 to the heart cells of elderly patients, the researchers then compared their function with those of cells from healthy individuals. The team then observed a process of cardiac rejuvenation after adding BPIFB4 to the test tube,

“The cardiac cells of elderly heart failure patients have resumed functioning properly, proving to be more efficient in building new blood vessels.Monica Cattaneo, first author of the study. 

The researchers of the study also noted that children of centenarians also carry BPIFB4, which means that they’re likely to enjoy longevity. Thankfully, the new study indicates that the benefits of BPIFB4 won’t only be limited to individuals who do not carry the longevity gene.

BPIFB4 as a longevity treatment?

It’s a little too soon to tell. 

For one, the authors point out that more studies are needed. These studies will help better determine how long the effects of the in vivo therapeutic effect will last. They also need to ascertain if repeated administrations are necessary. 

Muscle Atrophy in seniors

Photo by Marcus Aurelius from Pexels

Additionally, it has yet to be determined if the benefits observed in the mice will translate to individuals with advanced stages of heart failure.

That said, the team does believe that the new study will open up a wave of treatments that incorporate the genetics of centenarians.

“Our findings confirm the healthy mutant gene can reverse the decline of heart performance in older people. We are now interested in determining if giving the protein instead of the gene can also work. Gene therapy is widely used to treat diseases caused by bad genes. However, a treatment based on a protein is safer and more viable than gene therapy.” said Professor Paolo Madeddu, Professor of Experimental Cardiovascular Medicine from Bristol Heart Institute at the University of Bristol and one of the study’s authors.

Heart health tips

Now, we will likely have to wait to use centenarian genes to improve both our heart and longevity. However, there are a few tips you can adopt in the meantime. 

“The heart and blood vessel function is put at stake as we age. However, the rate at which these harmful changes occur is different among people. Smoking, alcohol, and sedentary life make the aging clock faster. Whereas eating well and exercising delay the heart’s aging clock.” – Professor Paolo Madeddu

Want to know more?

As Professor Madeddu stated, exercise is one of the best ways to improve your heart health. Yet, what time of the day is best if you want to work out? Well, research has suggested that exercising in the morning is a great way to protect your heart health.


Cattaneo, M., Beltrami, A. P., Thomas, A. C., Spinetti, G., et al. (2023). The longevity-associated BPIFB4 gene supports cardiac function and vascularization in aging cardiomyopathy. Cardiovascular research, cvad008. Advance online publication.

Dossena, M., Ferrario, A., Lopardo, V., Ciaglia, E., & Puca, A. A. (2020). New Insights for BPIFB4 in Cardiovascular Therapy. International journal of molecular sciences21(19), 7163.

Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba is a beauty and wellness writer who has a passion for poetry, equality, natural hair, and skin-care. With a journalism degree from Pearson's Institute of Higher Education, and identifiable by either her large afro or colorful locks, Pie aspires to continuously provide the latest information, be it beauty or wellness, on how one can adopt a healthy lifestyle on a day-to-day basis.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.

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