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Circ J. 2013;77(12):2982-9. Epub 2013 Sep 4.

High-density lipoprotein cholesterol level is associated with fibrous cap thickness in acute coronary syndrome.

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  • 1Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Wakayama Medical University.



Although low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) level has been reported as an independent risk factor for coronary artery disease, few studies addressed the direct relationship between the presence of thin-cap fibroatheroma (TCFA) that is considered as vulnerable plaque in pathology and HDL-C level. The aim of this study was to investigate whether lesion vulnerability is related to HDL-C level in patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS).


A total of 261 patients with ACS who underwent optical coherence tomography prior to percutaneous coronary intervention, were enrolled. Patients were divided into a TCFA group (n=124) and a non-TCFA group (n=137). TCFA was defined as a lipid plaque (lipid content in ≥1 quadrant) covered with <70 μm-thickness fibrous caps. There were no differences in patient characteristics and clinical results between the 2 groups except for HDL-C level, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) level, and high-sensitive C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) level. On multivariate regression analysis, low HDL-C level (β coefficient: 0.302, P<0.001), high LDL-C level (β coefficient: -0.172, P=0.008), hs-CRP level (β coefficient: -0.145, P=0.017), and current smoking (β coefficient: -0.124, P=0.028) were identified as independent contributors to fibrous cap thickness.


HDL-C is correlated with fibrous cap thickness of the culprit lesion in patients with ACS. HDL-C may be considered as a therapeutic target for plaque stabilization.

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