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Haematologica. 2013 May;98(5):802-7. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2012.073833. Epub 2013 Jan 24.

Elevated lipoprotein (a), small apolipoprotein (a), and the risk of arterial ischemic stroke in North American children.

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All Children’s Research Institute, All Children’s Hospital–Johns Hopkins Medicine, St Petersburg, FL, USA.


Lipoprotein (a) is a risk factor for adult cardiovascular events, in which the apolipoprotein (a) component is thought to promote atherogenesis and impair fibrinolysis. We investigated whether elevated plasma lipoprotein (a) concentration and small predominant apolipoprotein (a) isoform size (number of kringle-4 domains) are risk factors for childhood arterial ischemic stroke and correlate with plasma fibrinolytic function. Patients who had had an arterial ischemic stroke in childhood (29 days - <21 years at onset; n=43) and healthy controls (n=127) were recruited for plasma sampling and laboratory determinations. Cases were followed for recurrence in a prospective cohort study. The median lipoprotein (a) concentration did not differ between groups [cases: median 18.0 nmol/L (7.5 mg/dL) and observed range 0.9-259 nmol/L (0.38-108.0 mg/dL), controls: 20.4 nmol/L (8.5 mg/dL) and 0.2-282 nmol/L (0.08-117.5 mg/dL); P=0.62]. While odds of incident stroke were not significantly increased, risks of recurrent arterial ischemic stroke were each more than ten-times increased for lipoprotein(a) >90(th) percentile of race-specific reference values and apolipoprotein (a) <10(th) percentiles [odds ratio=14.0 (95% confidence interval: 1.0-184), P=0.05 and odds ratio=12.8 (1.61-101), P=0.02]. Statistically significant but weak correlations were observed between euglobulin lysis time and both lipoprotein (a) level (r=0.18, P=0.03) and apolipoprotein (a) size (r= -0.26, P=0.002). In conclusion, elevated lipoprotein (a) and small apolipoprotein (a) potently increase the risk of recurrent arterial ischemic stroke in children, with a mechanism only partially attributable to impaired fibrinolysis. Collaborative studies are warranted to investigate these findings further and, more broadly, to establish key risk factors for incident and recurrent arterial ischemic stroke in children.

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