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Am J Epidemiol. 1992 Aug 15;136(4):441-9.

Serum lipoprotein(a) levels in racially different populations.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Chemistry, University Hospital Leuven, Belgium.


Lipoprotein(a) is an atherogenic lipoprotein which has been studied predominantly in white populations. Serum lipoprotein(a), serum lipids, and apolipoproteins A-I and B were quantified in 1991 in a total of 300 sex-matched samples derived from five different ethnic groups. Three population samples of Asian origin (Tibet, Korea, and China), one population sample of West African origin (Nigeria), and one Western population sample (Belgium) were included. All serum samples had been collected in the past (3-11 years previously) and had been stored at -80 degrees C since then. Thirty serum samples from males and 30 serum samples from females were analyzed from each ethnic group. Overall median lipoprotein(a) levels in Koreans, Chinese, Tibetans, Nigerians, and Belgians were 99, 89, 49, 134, and 80 mg/liter, respectively. Lipoprotein(a) frequency distributions were highly skewed to the right in all populations, with the Nigerian distribution showing less skewness than the Asian and Western plots. All distributions became nearly gaussian after logarithmic transformation. No statistical difference was found between the mean log lipoprotein(a) values of the sexes (4.43 +/- 1.01 mg/liter (standard deviation) in men; 4.44 +/- 1.08 mg/liter in women). Pearson correlation analysis of both sexes combined revealed no statistically significant correlation (at the p less than 0.01 level) of log lipoprotein(a) with age, height, weight, body mass index, cholesterol, high density lipoprotein cholesterol, apolipoprotein A-I, or apolipoprotein B within any of the population groups studied or after pooling of all population groups.

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