Article ID: 54130
Aim: The association between small dense low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (sdLDL-C) levels and carotid intimal medial thickness (cIMT) progression has not been evaluated fully. We assessed specialized lipoproteins, including sdLDL-C, with regard to cIMT progression in a prospective observational study in Japan.
Methods: Plasma total cholesterol, direct LDL-C, sdLDL-C, LDL-triglycerides (LDL-TG), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), HDL2-C, HDL3-C, triglycerides, Lp(a), and adiponectin were measured in 2,030 men and women (median age 59 years, free of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and off cholesterol lowering medication). At both baseline and after a five-year follow-up, cIMT was assessed. Univariate, multivariate regression, and least square analyses were performed to examine the relationships between direct LDL-C, sdLDL-C, and other lipoproteins with cIMT progression.
Results: The median cIMT at baseline was 0.63 mm and five-year progression was 0.18 mm. After adjustment for standard CVD risk factors, including age, gender, systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, HDL-C, smoking, diabetes, and hypertension treatment, only direct LDL-C, sdLDL-C, and the sdLDL-C/LDL-C ratio were associated with cIMT progression. Even in subjects with direct LDL-C ＜100 mg/dL, who were considered at low CVD risk, elevated sdLDL-C were associated with cIMT progression (P for trend=0.009) in a model with established CVD risk factors, although the sdLDL-C/LDL-C ratio did not. Those correlations did not change by including triglycerides as a controlling factor or excluding premenopausal women from the analyzed population.
Conclusions: Small dense LDL-C has a stronger relationship with cIMT progression than LDL-C does; therefore, measuring sdLDL-C may allow for the formulation of optimal therapy for CVD prevention.