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22-12-2011 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Lipoprotein particle diameters useful cardiometabolic risk prediction


Free abstract

MedWire News: Study findings suggest that the combination of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) particle diameters may be useful for identifying individuals at increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) or diabetes.

To investigate the relationship of VLDL, LDL, and HDL diameters with the metabolic syndrome, a risk factor for incident diabetes and CVD, Alexis Frazier-Wood (University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA) and colleagues performed nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy in over 1000 men and women in the Genetics of Lipid-Lowering Drugs and Diet Network study.

Participants were divided into eight groups by latent class analysis (LCA), based on their average VLDL, LDL, and HDL diameters. Mixed models were then used to determine whether the distribution of lipid particle subfraction concentrations and components of the metabolic syndrome (defined according to the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel [NCEP ATP]-III criteria) varied by LCA groups.

Reporting in the journal Lipids in Health and Disease, the researchers found that groups 1 and 2 (mean VLDL, LDL, and HDL particle diameter 53.1 and 65.7, 19.8 and 20.1, and 8.4 and 8.5 nm, respectively) had the greatest number of individuals with the metabolic syndrome, and were characterized by the smallest LDL and HDL diameters.

There was no significant difference with regard to the number of individuals with the metabolic syndrome in these two groups. However, waist circumference, triglycerides, glucose, and diabetes prevalence were significantly higher in group 2 compared with group 1.

VLDL diameter was also significantly larger among those in group 2 compared with group 1, but there was no significant difference in LDL and HDL diameters between the groups.

Of note, in the absence of small LDL and HDL particles, VLDL did not associate with any individual metabolic syndrome components.

"As large VLDL diameter alone did not associate with MetS [metabolic syndrome] features, this indicates for the first time that it is the pattern of VLDL to LDL or HDL diameter that is indicative of MetS feature severity," write the authors.

They conclude that the pattern of VLDL-LDL (or VLDL-HDL) diameters may therefore have implications for identifying the highest risk groups for developing CVD or Type 2 diabetes.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Nikki Withers

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