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Nutr Metab (Lond). 2011 Apr 26;8(1):25. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-8-25.

Impact of sphingomyelin levels on coronary heart disease and left ventricular systolic function in humans.

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  • 1Institute of Cardiology, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, PR China.


Sphingomyelin (SM) is an abundant phospholipid in cell membranes and in lipoproteins. In human plasma, SM is mainly found in atherogenic lipoproteins; therefore, higher levels of SM may promote atherogenesis. We investigated the relations between plasma SM levels and the presence of angiographic coronary heart disease (CHD) and left ventricular systolic dysfunction. We studied 732 patients referred for coronary angiography. Median SM levels were higher among patients with CHD and in those with LV systolic dysfunction (LVEF<50%) than in patients without CHD or LV dysfunction. SM levels were significantly correlated with fibrinogen levels, diabetes, apoB, and triglyceride levels. On multivariate analyses, higher median SM levels were associated with a higher risk of CHD and lower LV ejection fraction. The pro-atherogenic property of plasma SM might be related to 1) CHD; 2) LV systolic dysfunction; and 3) metabolism of apoB-containing or triglyceride-rich lipoproteins.

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