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Atherosclerosis. 2011 Sep;218(1):117-22. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2011.04.038. Epub 2011 May 6.

Genetic and environmental regulation of inflammatory CVD biomarkers Lp-PLA2 and IgM anti-PC.

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Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Box 281, 17177 Stockholm, Sweden.



We set out to investigate the relative contribution of genetic and environmental effect on two inflammatory CVD biomarkers; lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A(2) (Lp-PLA(2)) and anti-phosphorylcholine IgM (anti-PC). Their relationships and possible co-regulation with other established CVD biomarkers are also examined.


Lp-PLA(2) activity (N=1600) and anti-PC (N=2036) levels were measured in elderly Swedish twins. Correlation analyses and heritability estimation were conducted by structural equation modeling.


We attribute 0.37 of the variance of Lp-PLA(2) and 0.40 of anti-PC variance to genetic variance. In addition, a bivariate heritability of 0.33, 0.35 and 0.36 could be detected for levels of Lp-PLA(2) together with ApoB, total cholesterol and LDL, respectively. Anti-PC was only weakly related to other biomarkers of CVD, which may suggest a more independent role of anti-PC as a biomarker.


In this large sample, Lp-PLA(2) activity has lower heritability and higher environmental regulation than previously reported. Anti-PC levels are partly influenced by dominance genetics and appear to be regulated independently of more established CVD biomarkers.

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