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Kidney Int. 2007 May;71(10):1036-43. Epub 2007 Feb 14.

In vivo turnover study demonstrates diminished clearance of lipoprotein(a) in hemodialysis patients.

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Division of Genetic Epidemiology, Department of Medical Genetics, Clinical und Molecular Pharmacology, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria.


Lipoprotein(a) (Lp(a)) consists of a low-density lipoprotein-like particle and a covalently linked highly glycosylated protein, called apolipoprotein(a) (apo(a)). Lp(a) derives from the liver but its catabolism is still poorly understood. Plasma concentrations of this highly atherogenic lipoprotein are elevated in hemodialysis (HD) patients, suggesting the kidney to be involved in Lp(a) catabolism. We therefore compared the in vivo turnover rates of both protein components from Lp(a) (i.e. apo(a) and apoB) determined by stable-isotope technology in seven HD patients with those of nine healthy controls. The fractional catabolic rate (FCR) of Lp(a)-apo(a) was significantly lower in HD patients compared with controls (0.164+/-0.114 vs 0.246+/-0.067 days(-1), P=0.042). The same was true for the FCR of Lp(a)-apoB (0.129+/-0.097 vs 0.299+/-0.142 days(-1), P=0.005). This resulted in a much longer residence time of 8.9 days for Lp(a)-apo(a) and 12.9 days for Lp(a)-apoB in HD patients compared with controls (4.4 and 3.9 days, respectively). The production rates of apo(a) and apoB from Lp(a) did not differ significantly between patients and controls and were even lower for patients when compared with controls with similar Lp(a) plasma concentrations. This in vivo turnover study is a further crucial step in understanding the mechanism of Lp(a) catabolism: the loss of renal function in HD patients causes elevated Lp(a) plasma levels because of decreased clearance but not increased production of Lp(a). The prolonged retention time of Lp(a) in HD patients might importantly contribute to the high risk of atherosclerosis in these patients.

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