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J Atheroscler Thromb. 2008 Oct;15(5):250-60.

Small LDL-cholesterol is superior to LDL-cholesterol for determining severe coronary atherosclerosis.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Showa University School of Medicine, tokyo, Japan.



Recent evidence suggests that small dense low-density lipoprotein (sd-LDL) particles are more atherogenic than large-LDL in spite of their lower cholesterol content. This study aimed to determine whether sd-LDL-cholesterol (sd-LDL-C) is superior to LDL-C as a biomarker of coronary heart disease (CHD).


LDL particle size determined by gradient gel electrophoresis and sd-LDL-C concentrations quantified by heparin-magnesium precipitation were compared between 482 stable CHD patients and 389 non-diabetic subjects without CHD who were not receiving any lipid-lowering drugs.


Both male and female CHD patients had significantly smaller LDL particles and lower large-LDL-C concentrations (estimated by subtracting the sd-LDL-C concentration from the LDL-C concentration), and significantly higher sd-LDL-C concentrations than the control subjects. LDL-C concentrations were modestly higher and sd-LDL-C concentrations were significantly higher in 258 patients with angiographically documented severe CHD than in the patients with mild CHD irrespective of treatment by LDL-lowering drugs and history of myocardial infarction and/or coronary revascularization. Large-LDL-C concentrations, in contrast, were similar between the two groups. Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that sd-LDL-C levels were significantly associated with severe CHD independently of LDL-C.


sd-LDL-C levels are more powerful than LDL-C levels for the determination of severe stable CHD.

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