, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 200-207

Triglyceride, small, dense low-density lipoprotein, and the atherogenic lipoprotein phenotype

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Abstract

This review provides an overview of the recent data evaluating triglyceride and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) size, two highly interrelated, genetically influenced, risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). An examination of new epidemiologic studies continues to demonstrate that plasma triglyceride levels predict CVD. The first prospective study of the familial forms of hypertriglyceridemia has shown that relatives in familial-combined hyperlipidemia families are at increased risk for CVD mortality and that triglyceride levels predicted 20-year, CVD mortality among relatives in familial hypertriglyceridemia families. A meta-analysis of three, large-scale, prospective studies in men, and the first study to examine the correlation of LDL particle size distribution and vascular changes measured by B-mode ultrasound, add to growing evidence that small, dense LDL is atherogenic. Quantitative genetic analysis has recently shown substantial pleiotropic (common) genetic effects on triglyceride and LDL size. At least part of this may be explained by variation at the cholesterol ester transfer protein locus on chromosome 16, possibly through its role in reverse cholesterol transport. Taken together, these data provide new insights into the importance of triglyceride and LDL particle size for understanding genetic susceptibility to cardiovascular disease and its prevention.