Carotid Intima-Media Thickness in Asymptomatic Subjects With Low Lipoprotein(a) Levels

Kazuhiko Kotani, Naoki Sakane


Background: Elevated and extreme circulating levels of lipoprotein(a) (Lp(a)) are considered to be an atherosclerotic risk factor, although additional studies on the low levels of Lp(a) are necessary to provide confirmation. The carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) is known as a surrogate index of atherosclerosis. The aim of the present study was to investigate the correlation between the serum Lp(a) and CIMT in asymptomatic subjects with a relatively low Lp(a) level.

Methods: The study included 65 asymptomatic female Japanese subjects (mean age: 60 years) with a serum Lp(a) level < 30 mg/dL. Clinical data including the serum Lp(a) and CIMT were measured, and their correlations were examined.

Results: The median Lp(a) level was 18.6 mg/dL were and the mean CIMT level was 0.8 mm. There was a significant and inverse correlation between the CIMT and Lp(a) (r = - 0.24, P <= 0.05), in addition to a significant and positive correlation between the CIMT and subject age and systolic blood pressure. A stepwise multiple linear regression analysis identified the Lp(a) to be correlated independently, significantly and inversely with the CIMT.

Conclusions: The Lp(a) levels were inversely correlated with the CIMT in this population, suggesting that subjects with a low Lp(a) level may have a predisposition to carotid atherosclerosis. This finding was preliminary and should be investigated further in larger studies and in additional settings.



Lp(a); Carotid artery; IMT; Atherosclerosis

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