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J Lipid Res. 1990 Jun;31(6):1131-9.

Identifying the predominant peak diameter of high-density and low-density lipoproteins by electrophoresis.

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Division of Research Medicine and Radiation Biophysics, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Berkeley, CA 94720.


Particle size distributions of high-density (HDL) and low-density (LDL) lipoproteins, obtained by polyacrylamide gradient gel electrophoresis, exhibit apparent predominant and minor peaks within characteristic subpopulation migration intervals. In the present report, we show that identification of such peaks as predominant or minor depends on whether the particle size distribution is analyzed according to migration distance or particle size. The predominant HDL peak on the migration distance scale is frequently not the predominant HDL peak when the distribution is transformed to the particle size scale. The potential physiologic importance of correct identification of the predominant HDL peak within a gradient gel electrophoresis profile is suggested by our cross-sectional study of 97 men, in which diameters associated with the predominant peak, determined using migration distance and particle size scales, were correlated with plasma lipoprotein and lipid parameters. Plasma concentrations of HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, and apolipoproteins A-I and B correlated more strongly with the predominant peak obtained using the particle size scale than the migration distance scale. The mathematical transformation from migration distance to particle diameter scale had less effect on the LDL distribution. The additional computational effort required to transform the HDL-distribution into the particle size scale appears warranted given the substantial changes it produces in the gradient gel electrophoresis profile and the strengthening of correlations with parameters relevant to lipoprotein metabolism.

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