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J Intern Med. 2010 Dec;268(6):567-77. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2796.2010.02277.x.

Apolipoprotein B, non-HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol for identifying individuals at increased cardiovascular risk.

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Division of Vascular Medicine, Department of General Internal Medicine, Radboud University, Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.



To compare apolipoprotein B (apoB), non-high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (non-HDL-c) and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-c) for identifying individuals with a deteriorated cardiovascular (CV) risk profile, including a panel of subclinical atherosclerosis measurements and prevalent cardiovascular disease (CVD) in a Dutch population-based cohort.


Clinical and biochemical measurements and a panel of noninvasive parameters of subclinical atherosclerosis were determined in 1517 individuals, aged 50-70 years.


Both men and women with increasing levels of apoB and non-HDL-c were more obese, had higher blood pressure and fasting glucose levels, and a more atherogenic lipid profile. Furthermore, compared to the reference group (composed of those with apoB, non-HDL-c and LDL-c levels in the bottom quartiles), participants with high apoB and high non-HDL-c levels had a lower ankle-brachial index at rest (-3.5% and -3.1%, respectively) and after exercise (-6.3% and -4.7%, respectively), a thicker near wall (+4.8% and +4.2%, respectively), far wall (both +6.2%), and mean intima-media thickness (+5.7% and +5.3%, respectively) and more plaques (+54.2% and +54.3%, respectively). In addition, they also showed increased stiffness parameters (e.g. pulse wave velocity both +3.6%). Less clear differences in CV risk profile and subclinical atherosclerosis parameters were observed when participants were stratified by LDL-c level. Furthermore, apoB but not LDL-c detected prevalent CVD, and non-HDL-c only detected prevalent CVD in men. The discriminatory power for prevalent CVD expressed as area under the receiver operating characteristic curve was 0.60 (P < 0.001) for apoB, 0.57 (P = 0.001) for non-HDL-c and 0.54 (P = 0.108) for LDL-c.


Our data support the use of first apoB and secondly non-HDL-c above LDL-c for identifying individuals from the general population with a compromised CV phenotype.

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