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Metabolism. 2000 Jan;49(1):53-61.

Influence of triglyceride concentration on the relationship between lipoprotein cholesterol and apolipoprotein B and A-I levels.

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  • 1Lipid Research Center, Laval University Medical Research Center, Ste-Foy, Québec, Canada.


A sample of 2,103 men aged 47 to 76 years from the Québec Cardiovascular Study cohort was examined to quantify the influence of plasma triglyceride (TG) levels on the relationship between plasma lipoprotein cholesterol and either apolipoprotein A-I (apo A-I) or apo B concentrations. Regression analyses between high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and apo A-I through TG tertiles showed highly significant correlations (.62 < or = r < or = .75, P < .0001) in all TG tertiles between these 2 variables. The associations for plasma apo B versus low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and non-HDL-C levels were also studied on the basis of TG concentrations, and correlation coefficients between either LDL-C or non-HDL-C and apo B were essentially similar among TG tertiles (.78 < or = r < or = .85 and .83 < or = r < or = .86 for LDL-C and non-HDL-C, respectively, P < .0001). Regression analyses also showed that lower HDL-C levels were found for any given apo A-I concentration among men in the 2 upper TG tertiles, whereas lower LDL-C concentrations were observed at any given apo B level among subjects in the upper TG tertile. We further investigated whether there were synergistic alterations in the HDL-C/apo A-I and LDL-C/apo B ratios as a function of increasing plasma TG. A significant association was noted between these 2 ratios (r = .37; P < .0001). Mean HDL-C/apo A-I and LDL-C/apo B ratios were then calculated across quintiles of plasma TG concentrations. Increased TG concentrations were first associated with a reduced HDL-C/apo A-I ratio, followed by a decreased LDL-C/apo B ratio. These results suggest that a relatively modest increase in TG may rapidly alter the relative cholesterol content of HDL particles. Finally, the cholesterol content of the non-HDL fraction appears to be influenced less by TG levels than HDL-C and LDL-C fractions. Thus, the plasma apo B-containing lipoprotein cholesterol level may provide a better index of number of atherogenic particles than the LDL-C concentration, particularly in the presence of hypertriglyceridemia (HTG).

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