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02-02-2010 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Factors influencing Lp-PLA2 elucidated


Free abstract

MedWire News: Results show that not smoking, use of hormone therapy, normal body mass index (BMI), and increased alcohol and protein consumption all favorably influence levels of lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) activity.

“Elevated Lp-PLA2 may be positively associated with risk of coronary artery disease,” say researchers, “yet little is known about potentially modifiable factors related to Lp-PLA2.”

To investigate further, Eric Rimm (Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA) and colleagues measured the activity of Lp-PLA2 and potential influencing factors in 853 women from the Nurses’ Health Study and 878 men from the Professionals Follow-Up Study, none of whom had cardiovascular disease or cancer.

As reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the team found that replacing 5% of dietary energy obtained through consumption of carbohydrates with energy from protein reduced Lp-PLA2 activity by 2.20 nmol/min/ml, and increasing alcohol consumption by 15 g/day reduced Lp-PLA2 activity by 4.40 nmol/min/ml.

Use of postmenopausal hormones and lipid-lowering medication also appeared to decrease levels of Lp-PLA2 activity.

In contrast, smoking, use of aspirin, hypercholesterolemia, being overweight (BMI above 25 kg/m2), and older age were all associated with increased levels of Lp-PLA2 activity.

“Clinical interventions that aim to favorably influence the lipid profile may confer a beneficial effect on Lp-PLA2,” say Rimm et al.

“However, this study suggests that the identified modifiable variables may affect Lp-PLA2 activity independent of their effects on the lipid profile.”

They conclude: “Because Lp-PLA2 activity may represent a novel pathway associated with increased coronary heart disease, it is necessary to identify other modifiable factors that influence Lp-PLA2 activity.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Helen Albert