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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2000 Sep;20(9):2140-7.

The metabolic syndrome, LDL particle size, and atherosclerosis: the Atherosclerosis and Insulin Resistance (AIR) study.

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Wallenberg Laboratory for Cardiovascular Research, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg University, Gothenburg, Sweden.


An operative definition of the metabolic syndrome has been suggested by a working group associated with the World Health Organization in 1998. The aim of this study was to examine whether small, low density lipoprotein (LDL) particle size was associated with the metabolic syndrome and with subclinical atherosclerosis as measured by ultrasound in the carotid and femoral arteries. The study was performed in a population-based sample of clinically healthy men (N=391), all 58 years old and not undergoing any treatment with cardiovascular drugs. Exclusion criteria were cardiovascular or other clinically overt diseases or continuous medication with cardiovascular drugs. The results showed that subjects characterized by the metabolic syndrome (n=62) had a thicker mean intima-media complex (IMT) in both the carotid and femoral arteries (0.86 versus 0.77 mm, P:<0.001, and 1.03 versus 1. 00 mm, P:=0.022, respectively) and also lower mean values for LDL particle size (25.78 versus 26.80 nm, respectively, P:<0.001) compared with subjects with no risk factors (n=77). The group with the metabolic syndrome (n=62) also had higher mean values for serum cholesterol and heart rate. In the whole study group (N=391), there were significant but weak negative relationships between small LDL particle size, increasing IMT, and increasing cross-sectional intima-media area of the carotid and femoral arteries and also negative relationships between LDL particle size and plaque occurrence and size in the carotid and femoral arteries. In summary, this is the first large-scale study to demonstrate a relationship between the clustering of risk factors that constitute the metabolic syndrome and a small LDL particle size pattern and the occurrence of preclinical atherosclerosis in the carotid and femoral arteries, as assessed by the ultrasound technique, in healthy 58-year-old men recruited from the general population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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