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Am J Cardiol. 1998 Feb 26;81(4A):13B-17B.

Atherogenicity of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins.

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Donner Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley 94720, USA.


There is increasing evidence that alterations in metabolism of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins are of importance in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and its clinical consequences. Particles with the characteristics of triglyceride-rich lipoprotein remnants have been related to the extent and severity of atherosclerosis in humans and in animal models. These particles can be identified using ultracentrifugal procedures as small, very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) and intermediate-density lipoprotein (IDL) with Svedberg flotation rates (Sf) of 12-60. Postprandial triglyceride levels also have been related to risk of coronary artery disease, consistent with a pathologic role for remnant lipoproteins. In studies in which measurements of lipoprotein subfractions have been carried out, levels of IDL have been more predictive than low-density lipoprotein (LDL) of atherosclerosis progression as assessed by coronary artery angiography or carotid artery ultrasonography. These findings suggest that a considerable portion of the coronary disease risk attributed to LDL may be accounted for by the IDL particles included in standard LDL measurements. Other metabolic changes associated with increased levels of plasma triglyceride may also adversely affect cardiovascular disease risk. These include reductions in HDL-cholesterol and apoprotein A1, increased levels of small dense LDL particles, redistribution of apoC-III from HDL to apoB-containing lipoproteins, diminished insulin sensitivity, and procoagulant changes, including increased levels of the fibrinolysis inhibitor, plasminogen-activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1). A predominance of small dense LDL (subclass pattern B) is a discrete marker for this cluster of interrelated abnormalities and is found in 40-50% of patients with coronary artery disease. Therapeutic interventions with favorable effects on components of this dysmetabolic profile appear to be of value in decreasing atherosclerosis risk in a substantial proportion of the population.

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