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J Atheroscler Thromb. 2009 Jun;16(3):145-54. Epub 2009 Jun 25.

Remnant lipoproteins as strong key particles to atherogenesis.

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Laboratory of Nutritional Physiology, Faculty of Nutrition, Kobegakuin University, Kobe 651-2180, Japan.


Recent epidemiologic studies have revealed that hypertriglyceridemia is associated with atherosclerosis independent of other coronary risk factors. However, it is difficult to select patients at high risk for coronary artery disease using only serum triglyceride levels compared with low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels since multiple factors are associated with elevating triglycerides. Atherosclerotic diseases with high triglyceride levels can be found in patients with familial combined hyperlipidemia, diabetes mellitus, and metabolic syndrome, in which remnant lipoproteins accumulate in the circulating blood. Recent researches have paid attention to remnant lipoproteins as atherogenic particles with the development of methods for measuring remnant cholesterol levels and apolipoprotein B-48 levels directly from human serum. Measurement of these parameters in addition to serum triglycerides may help to distinguish high-risk patients and enable us to prevent or suppress the progression of atherosclerotic diseases in those patients. However, questions remain to be answered to evaluate the significance of remnant lipoproteins. Here, we focus on three issues: the underlying problems in measuring remnant lipoprotein cholesterol, the assessment of postprandial hyperlipidemia as an atherogenic condition, and finally a review of our experimental and clinical findings about the mechanisms by which remnant lipoproteins induce atherosclerosis.

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