The researchers compared plasma concentrations of total HDL, HDL that has apoC-III, and HDL without apoC-III as predictors of the risk of CHD.
After adjusting for age, smoking status and other dietary and lifestyle cardiovascular risk factors, the researchers found that two different subclasses of HDL have opposite associations with the risk of CHD in apparently healthy men and women. The major HDL type, which lacks apoC-III, had the expected heart-protective association with CHD. But the small fraction (13%) of HDL cholesterol that has apoC-III present on its surface was paradoxically associated with a higher, not lower, risk of future CHD. Those men and women who had HDL apoC-III in the highest 20% of the population had a 60% increased risk of CHD.
The results suggest that measuring HDL apoC-III and HDL without apoC-III rather than the simpler measure of total HDL may be a better gauge of heart disease risk (or of HDL's protective capacity). "Reduction in HDL-apoC-III by diet or drug treatments may become an indicator of efficacy," said Jensen.
The study was supported by The National Institutes of Health and the Villum Kann Rasmussen Foundation (Denmark).
"Apolipoprotein C-III as a Potential Modulator of the Association Between HDL-Cholesterol and Incident Coronary Heart Disease," Majken K. Jensen, Eric B. Rimm, Jeremy D. Furtado, Frank M. Sacks, Journal of the American Heart Association, April 2012.
Harvard School of Public Health is dedicated to advancing the public's health through learning, discovery and communication. More than 400 faculty members are engaged in teaching and training the 1,000-plus student body in a broad spectrum of disciplines crucial to the health and well being of individuals and populations around the world. Programs and projects range from the molecular biology of AIDS vaccines to the epidemiology of cancer; from risk analysis to violence prevention; from maternal and children's health to quality of care measurement; from health care management to international health and human rights. For more information on the school visit www.hsph.harvard.edu.
Todd Datz | EurekAlert!
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