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Ethn Health. 1997 Mar-Jun;2(1-2):47-58.

Lipoprotein (a) distribution in a Nigerian population.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.



To determine the distribution and determinants of lipoprotein (a) (Lp(a)) concentration among Nigerians.


Subjects were recruited from civil servants living in Benin City, Nigeria. The height and weight of the individuals were measured and their use of alcohol and tobacco estimated by questionnaire. Laboratory analyses of blood samples involved Lp(a), total cholesterol (TC), high-density lipoprotein (HDLc), HDL2c, HDL3c, triglyceride (TG) and insulin.


The analyses indicate that the Lp(a) concentrations are elevated among Nigerian populations and more skewed towards high levels than is observed for caucasian and oriental groups. The median levels for Lp(a) were 24.0 mg dl-1 and 19.0 mg dl-1 for women and men, respectively. This difference was significant (P < 0.05) but after stratifying by age, only the 45-54 year-old group of women (30.1 mg dl-1) had significantly higher (p < 0.001) median concentrations of Lp(a) than men (18.4 mg dl-1). Age, 20-64, had no influence on Lp(a) levels in men but in women Lp(a) concentrations increased significantly with age (p < 0.05). Among males alcohol consumption, smoking and body mass index (BMI) were not related to Lp(a) concentrations but a significant effect (p < 0.05) was noted for waist-hip ratio (WHR). Among females no relationship was observed between Lp(a) levels and alcohol consumption, BMI and WHR. All serum lipids measured (TC, HDLc, HDL2c, HDL3c, low-density lipoprotein (LDLc), and TG) were correlated with Lp(a) concentrations among men. A significant association with TC and LDLc remained after correcting for Lp(a) cholesterol. Among women, the Lp(a) levels were associated with TC, HDLc, HDL3c, and LDLc but not with HDL2c, and TG. The correlations with TC and LDLc were not significant after correcting for Lp(a) cholesterol. Insulin did not correlate with Lp(a) levels in either men or women.


Lp(a) concentrations are high in Nigerians, particularly among women, and the association between the Lp(a) concentrations and other lipoproteins is stronger than in white populations.

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