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Low heart-type fatty acid binding protein level during aging may protect down syndrome people against atherosclerosis

Elena Vianello1*, Giada Dogliotti1, Elena Dozio1 and Massimiliano Marco Corsi Romanelli12

Author Affiliations

1 Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche per la Salute, Cattedra di Patologia Clinica, Università degli Studi di Milano, Via Mangiagalli 31, Milan, 20133, Italy

2 U.O.C. di Patologia Clinica, Dipartimento dei Servizi Sanitari di Diagnosi e Cura – Medicina di Laboratorio, IRCCS Policlinico San Donato, Piazza E. Malan, 20097 San Donato Milanese, Milan, Italy

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Immunity & Ageing 2013, 10:2  doi:10.1186/1742-4933-10-2

Published: 22 January 2013



Aging is considered an important independent risk factor for atherosclerosis. Down syndrome people (DS) display an accelerated aging process compared to healthy subjects, anyway they are relatively resistant to developing atherosclerosis. The mechanisms involved in such protective effect are not well known. Since heart-type fatty acid binding protein (H-FABP) is a protein involved in the transport of fatty acids and it has been recently correlated with the presence of atherosclerosis, we aimed to measure H-FABP level both in DS and in healthy subjects during aging to evaluate the association between this molecule, aging and atherosclerosis.


We quantified plasmatic H-FABP level in three groups of male DS and age-matched healthy subjects (children, age 2–14 years; adults, age 20–50 years; elderly, > 60 years) using a biochip array analyzer. We observed that aging is associated with increased H-FABP level in healthy subjects but not in DS which display both the same protein level in the different ages of life and have also lower level compared to their age-matched healthy subjects.


Reduced H-FABP level during aging in DS may play a protective role against atherosclerosis. The potential involvement of H-FABP in the relationship between aging, atherosclerosis and development of coronary artery disease needs further investigations.

Aging; Atherosclerosis; Down syndrome; Heart-type fatty acid binding protein