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23-09-2010 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Teenage triglyceride:HDL cholesterol ratio predicts adult pro-atherogenic lipid profile


Free abstract

MedWire News: The ratio of triglycerides to high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in late adolescence can predict a pro-atherogenic lipid profile in adulthood, study findings suggest.

Fasting triglyceride:HDL cholesterol ratio in teenagers predicted lipoprotein particle sizes more than a decade later, independently of adolescent body mass index and weight gain, although lipid profiles were independently worsened by weight gain.

The researchers say: "The results of this study suggest that individuals with an ostensibly pro-atherogenic lipid profile characterized by an increased number and proportion of small low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and large very LDL particles may be identified during adolescence."

Ram Weiss (Hebrew University School of Medicine, Jerusalem, Israel) and colleagues examined whether the triglyceride:HDL cholesterol ratio in adolescence and subsequent weight gain could predict lipoprotein subclasses measured using nuclear magnetic resonance imaging in adulthood.

The study included 517 boys and 253 girls aged 16 to 17 years who participated in the Jerusalem Lipid Research Clinic study and were followed-up approximately 13 years later.

Adult concentrations of small LDL particles and small HDL particles were similarly and independently positively associated with the triglyceride:HDL cholesterol ratio in late adolescence, even after adjusting for LDL cholesterol at baseline.

There were also inverse associations between the triglyceride:HDL cholesterol ratio and both large LDL and HDL particles.

Large very LDL particles were positively associated with the adolescent triglyceride:HDL-cholesterol ratio, with a stronger relationship for men than women and a strong interaction with weight gain in males.

A baseline ratio greater than 2.54 was strongly associated with increased concentrations of small LDL and large very LDL particles at follow-up.

Reporting in the Journal of Pediatrics, the researchers admit: "The shape of the association of the adolescent triglyceride:HDL ratio with lipoprotein subclasses in adulthood limits us from establishing a specific triglyceride:HDL ratio threshold to be used in clinical practice as a risk predictor in adolescence.

However, they add that "a ratio greater than about 2.5, representing the 80th percentile in this population, is associated with a sharp increase in the likelihood of having high concentrations of small LDL and large very LDL, which are recognized pro-atherogenic culprits."

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

By Anita Wilkinson

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