Lipoprotein Lp(a) is an atherogenic subfraction of plasma lipoproteins which has been studied predominantly in white populations. We quantified Lp(a) by electroimmunoassay in plasma from 105 black and 134 white healthy men and women. Results were correlated with clinical variables and plasma levels of lipids, other lipoproteins, and apolipoprotein (apo) B determined by radioimmunoassay. Black subjects had levels of Lp(a) that averaged twice those of whites (p < 0.001). Among blacks, Lp(a) levels showed a bell-shaped frequency distribution, while among whites the distribution was strongly skewed, with the highest frequencies at low levels. Contrary to previously published results, the apo B levels in our study correlated significantly, though weakly, with Lp(a) (r = 0.21, p = 0.001 among whites, and r = 0.15, p = 0.02 among blacks, Kendall rank correlation). The regression slopes and variances suggested that apo B in the Lp(a) lipoprotein could account for the correlation. Lp(a) levels did not correlate significantly with any other plasma lipoprotein or lipid levels. The implications of this study are as follows: Despite the high levels of Lp(a) among blacks in the Houston area, these blacks do not experience greatly increased atherosclerotic progression and mortality. Thus, the atherogenicity of Lp(a) in blacks must be decreased or counterbalanced by other factors. The correlation between Lp(a) and apo B should be taken into account when analyzing atherogenic risk, but this correlation is not strong enough to dispute the independence of Lp(a) and apo B as risk factors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine