Small Dense Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol and Carotid Intimal Medial Thickness Progression.

Research paper by Hiroaki H Ikezaki, Norihiro N Furusyo, Yuya Y Yokota, Masumi M Ai, Bela F BF Asztalos, Masayuki M Murata, Jun J Hayashi, Ernst J EJ Schaefer

Indexed on: 14 Apr '20Published on: 14 Apr '20Published in: Journal of atherosclerosis and thrombosis


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. 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. 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. 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.