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08-11-2010 | Diabetes | Article

Lipid ratios useful for assessing diabetic early atherosclerosis risk


Free abstract

MedWire News: Lipid ratios may be more useful than other lipoprotein measurements for assessing the risk for early atherosclerosis in Japanese patients with Type 2 diabetes, research suggests.

The ratios of low- to high-density lipoprotein (LDL/HDL) cholesterol and total to HDL (total/HDL) cholesterol were most closely associated with carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) of all the lipid parameters assessed.

There was also a positive, linear association between the two ratios and the prevalence of carotid plaque, report Naoto Katakami (Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan) and co-workers.

They say: "These results suggest that total/HDL cholesterol and LDL/HDL cholesterol ratios are better lipid indices than the other standard lipid parameters in assessing the risk of early-stage atherosclerosis."

The team studied the relationship between various lipid parameters and carotid atherosclerosis evaluated using ultrasonography in 934 Japanese individuals with Type 2 diabetes, but without apparent atherosclerotic disease.

Overall, 71.7% of the group were men, and the mean age was 59.6 years.

Stepwise multivariate regression analysis demonstrated that HDL cholesterol, and the total/HDL cholesterol and LDL/HDL cholesterol ratios each significantly determined IMT, even after adjusting for other conventional risk factors.

However, there was no significant correlation between IMT and levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and non-HDL cholesterol.

The ratios of total/HDL cholesterol and LDL/HDL cholesterol as well as levels of non-HDL cholesterol were significantly higher in patients with carotid plaque than in those without, while the reverse was true for HDL cholesterol.

However, there were no significant differences for total or LDL cholesterol, or triglyceride levels.

There was a positive and linear relationship between carotid plaque prevalence and total/HDL cholesterol and LDL/HDL cholesterol ratios, with odds ratios of 1.34 and 1.54, respectively, regardless of adjustment for covariates.

Reporting in the journal Atherosclerosis, the researchers conclude: "These data suggest that these lipoprotein ratios are recommended as a tool to assess the risk of early-stage atherosclerosis in Type 2 diabetic patients in regular clinical practice."

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