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12-06-2011 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Potential atherosclerotic risk marker identified in normotriglyceridemic men


Free abstract

MedWire News: Serum levels of apolipoprotein B-48 (apoB-48) may be a useful marker for the detection of early atherosclerosis in middle-aged men with normal triglyceride levels and blood pressure, say researchers.

"Our results showed that fasting serum apoB-48 levels are correlated with maximum intima media thickness (max-IMT) in subjects with relatively high, but normal triglyceride levels," remark the authors in the journal Atherosclerosis.

Daisaku Masuda (Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan) and colleagues explain that "postprandial hyperlipidemia is an independent risk factor for coronary heart disease, which is based on the accumulation of chylomicrons (CM) and CM remnants containing apoB-48."

The team therefore examined the association between fasting apoB-48-containing lipoproteins and carotid IMT in 164 males who attended an annual health checkup at Osaka Police Hospital. All participants were under 65 years of age (mean age 52 years), had systolic blood pressure less than 140 mmHg, and were not taking drugs affecting their lipid metabolism or blood pressure.

In all participants, concentrations of triglycerides and apoB-48 showed significant positive associations with max-IMT, say Masuda et al. Conversely, coronary risk factors such as total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, apoB-100, and remnant lipoprotein cholesterol showed no significant correlations.

However, when the researchers divided individuals into three groups according to their triglyceride levels (100 mg/dl [1.13 mmol/l], ≥100-<150 mg/dl [≥1.13-<1.69 mmol/l], or ≥150 mg/dl [≥1.69 mmol/l]), they found that apoB-48 levels were only significantly associated with max-IMT in the group with triglyceride levels between 100 and 150 mg/dl. In addition, multiple regression analysis revealed that age and apoB-48 were independently associated with max-IMT in this group.

"The significant correlation between apoB-48 levels and max-IMT means that the increase in apoB-48-containing lipoproteins might promote atherosclerosis in the carotid artery," say Masuda and co-authors.

They conclude, therefore, that accumulation of CM remnants containing apoB-48 might be an independent risk factor for the development of atherosclerosis among patients with relatively high, but normal, triglycerides.

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

By Nikki Withers