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20-01-2011 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Blood viscosity impaired in dyslipidemic individuals


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MedWire News: Dyslipidemia is associated with abnormalities of blood viscosity, including impaired blood flow, research shows.

The researchers call for future studies to investigate the impact of lipid-lowering treatment on blood rheology and its potential as a pathway for preventing cardiovascular disease.

Masani Murakami (Gunma University, Japan) and colleagues studied hemorheologic parameters in 395 consecutive adults undergoing routine health checkups. In all, 142 were found to be dyslipidemic, defined as elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, elevated triglycerides, or reduced high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels.

The team assessed blood rheology using the "microchannel" method, which is influenced by erythrocyte deformability, leucocyte adhesiveness, platelet aggregation, and whole blood and plasma viscosity.

Writing in the Journal of International Medical Research, Murakami et al report that blood fibrinogen levels, hematocrit, and whole-blood passage time (a measure of viscosity) were all significantly higher in dyslipidemic versus normolipidemic individuals.

Furthermore, whole-blood passage time correlated positively with serum LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and the ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol (LDL-C/HDL-C), and negatively with HDL cholesterol.

Finally, in both dyslipidemic and normolipidemic individuals, whole-blood passage time was significantly higher in those with an LDL-C/HDL-C ratio above 2.0 than in those with a ratio below 1.5.

Discussing their findings, the authors note that lipids and lipoproteins modulate hemostasis by altering rheologic factors; however, the mechanism by which blood rheology is impaired in subjects with a high LDL-C/HDL-C ratio remains to be elucidated.

"An elevated LDL-C/HDL-C ratio may help in predicting impaired blood rheology… and the progression of coronary atherosclerosis," Murakami and co-authors conclude.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Joanna Lyford