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Atherosclerosis. 2002 Feb;160(2):399-406.

HDL particle size: a marker of the gender difference in the metabolic risk profile.

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  • 1Lipid Research Center, CHUL Research Center, Sainte-Foy, Que., Canada G1V 4G2.


A low plasma HDL-cholesterol concentration is an important risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD) and is often accompanied by increased triglyceride concentrations. Women have generally higher HDL-cholesterol and lower triglyceride concentrations and concomitantly are at lower risk of CHD than men. As HDL particle size is a new and potentially important marker of CHD risk, we have examined the potential gender difference in HDL particle size, assessed by nondenaturing 4-30% polyacrylamide gradient gel electrophoresis, in a sample of men (n=231) and women (n=183). Overall, men were characterized by a less favorable lipoprotein--lipid profile, which was accompanied by smaller HDL particle size compared to women. However, when men and women were matched for HDL particle size and compared for their metabolic profile, it was found that both genders were characterized by similar plasma lipoprotein--lipid profile despite the fact that women were characterized by higher levels of total body fat but lower waist girth than men. In summary, HDL particle size is a strong marker of the gender-related difference in the determination of the metabolic risk profile.

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