Lipoprotein(a) as a Potential Causal Genetic Risk Factor of Cardiovascular Disease

Department of Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA.
Journal of the American College of Cardiology (Impact Factor: 16.5). 08/2012; 60(8):716-21. DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2012.04.038
Source: PubMed


Recent published studies have provided increasing evidence that lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)] may be a potential causal, genetic, independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Lp(a) levels >25 mg/dl are present in ∼30% of Caucasians and 60% to 70% of Blacks. Lp(a) is composed of apolipoprotein B-100 and apolipoprotein (a) [(apo(a)]. Circulating Lp(a) levels are primarily influenced by the LPA gene without significant dietary or environmental effects, mediating CVD risk throughout the patient's lifetime. Recent clinical outcomes studies, meta-analyses, and Mendelian randomization studies, in which randomization of Lp(a) levels is achieved through the random assortment of LPA gene variants thereby removing confounders, have shown that genetically determined Lp(a) levels are continuously and linearly related to risk of CVD. Currently, Lp(a) pathophysiology is not fully understood, and specifically targeted therapies to lower Lp(a) are not available. We provide a rationale for increased basic and clinical investigational efforts to further understand Lp(a) pathophysiology and assess whether reducing Lp(a) levels minimizes CVD risk. First, a detailed understanding of Lp(a) synthesis and clearance has not been realized. Second, several mechanisms of atherogenicity are known to varying extent, but the relative contributions of each are not known. Lp(a) may be atherothrombotic through its low-density lipoprotein moiety, but also through apo(a), including its ability to be retained in the vessel wall and mediate pro-inflammatory and proapoptotic effects including those potentiated by its content of oxidized phospholipids, and antifibrinolytic effects. Finally, development of specific Lp(a)-lowering agents to potently lower Lp(a) will allow testing of mechanistic hypotheses in animal models and the design of randomized clinical trials to assess reduction in CVD. A convergence of academic, scientific, pharmaceutical, and National Institutes of Health priorities and efforts can make this a reality in the next decade.

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    • "Although not considered an established risk factor, Lp(a) levels have been associated with cardiovascular disease in numerous studies [72, 104, 105]. Recently Lp(a) serum levels were found to be associated with the severity of aortic atherosclerosis, especially in abdominal aorta, as well as coronary atherosclerosis [106]. Moreover a study by Momiyama et al. [107] demonstrated that elevated Lp(a) has incremental prognostic value in symptomatic patients with coronary artery revascularization [108]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Lipoprotein(a) (Lp(a)) is an LDL-like molecule consisting of an apolipoprotein B-100 (apo(B-100)) particle attached by a disulphide bridge to apo(a). Many observations have pointed out that Lp(a) levels may be a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Lp(a) inhibits the activation of transforming growth factor (TGF) and contributes to the growth of arterial atherosclerotic lesions by promoting the proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells and the migration of smooth muscle cells to endothelial cells. Moreover Lp(a) inhibits plasminogen binding to the surfaces of endothelial cells and decreases the activity of fibrin-dependent tissue-type plasminogen activator. Lp(a) may act as a proinflammatory mediator that augments the lesion formation in atherosclerotic plaques. Elevated serum Lp(a) is an independent predictor of coronary artery disease and myocardial infarction. Furthermore, Lp(a) levels should be a marker of restenosis after percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty, saphenous vein bypass graft atherosclerosis, and accelerated coronary atherosclerosis of cardiac transplantation. Finally, the possibility that Lp(a) may be a risk factor for ischemic stroke has been assessed in several studies. Recent findings suggest that Lp(a)-lowering therapy might be beneficial in patients with high Lp(a) levels. A future therapeutic approach could include apheresis in high-risk patients in order to reduce major coronary events.
    03/2013; 2013(5):650989. DOI:10.1155/2013/650989
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    ABSTRACT: To examine the relations between genetic loci, plasma lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)] levels, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk among diabetic patients and compare with the observations in the general population. In two prospective cohorts of patients with type 2 diabetes (n= 2308) from the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professional Follow-Up Study, we performed (i) genome-wide association (GWA) scans for plasma Lp(a); (ii) prospective analysis of plasma Lp(a) for CVD risk and mortality; and (iii) genetic association analysis for CVD risk and mortality. Meta-analysis of the two GWA scans yielded 71 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on chromosome 6q associated with plasma Lp(a) levels at a genome-wide significance level (P< 5 × 10(-8)). The SNP rs10455872 in LPA was most strongly associated with Lp(a) (P= 4.60 × 10(-39)). Forward-selection analysis indicated that rs10455872 and other five SNPs in a region encompassing LPA, PLG, SLC22A3, and LPAL2 genes were independently associated with Lp(a) levels and jointly explained ∼20% of variation in diabetic patients. In prospective analysis, we did not find any significant association between plasma levels and CVD incidence; the relative risk for coronary heart disease (CHD), CVD, and CVD death was 1.05 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.95-1.15], 1.05 (0.96-1.15), and 1.21 (0.99-1.47) per 1-SD higher log-transformed Lp(a) levels, respectively. Consistently, none of the Lp(a) SNPs were associated with CVD risk or mortality (all P> 0.09). For the best SNP rs10455872 for plasma Lp(a) levels, the OR for CHD, CVD, and CVD death was 0.94 (95% CI: 0.69-1.28), 0.97 (0.72-1.29), and 1.23 (0.79-1.92), respectively. The genetic effect on CHD risk showed a significant heterogeneity between the diabetic and the general populations (P= 0.006). Our data indicate that the effect of Lp(a) on CVD risk among diabetic patients might be different from that in the general population. Diabetes status may attenuate the relation between Lp(a) and cardiovascular risk.
    European Heart Journal 09/2011; 33(3):325-34. DOI:10.1093/eurheartj/ehr350 · 15.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)] is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor antagonist tocilizumab has been shown to lower serum Lp(a) concentrations. We investigated whether the IL-6 single nucleotide polymorphism -174G/C is associated with baseline serum Lp(a) concentrations. We divided 2321 subjects from the Lipid Analytic Cologne (LIANCO) cohort into 2 groups, the ones with substantially elevated Lp(a), defined as concentrations ≥60 mg/dl (n = 510), and the ones with Lp(a) <60 mg/dl (n = 1811). The association with the genotypes GG (33.7%), GC (50.75%) and CC (15.55%) was investigated. The GC and the CC genotype were associated with a significantly increased odds ratio of having substantially elevated Lp(a) concentrations (OR = 1.3, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.63, P = 0.02 and OR = 1.44, 95% CI 1.06 to 1.93, P = 0.018). These associations remained significant after adjusting for age, sex, smoking behavior, body mass index, serum lipoproteins, hypertension and diabetes. Of these covariates, only LDL cholesterol was significantly and independently associated with elevated Lp(a) concentrations. The IL-6 single nucleotide polymorphism -174G/C is associated with increased odds of having elevated Lp(a). Whether this association plays a role in the Lp(a)-lowering effects of IL-6 receptor antagonists remains to be established.
    PLoS ONE 09/2011; 6(9):e24719. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0024719 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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