Lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, and risk for incident coronary heart disease in middle-aged men and women in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study

Christie M Ballantyne, Ron C Hoogeveen, Heejung Bang, Josef Coresh, Aaron R Folsom, Gerardo Heiss, A Richey Sharrett
Circulation 2004 February 24, 109 (7): 837-42

BACKGROUND: Measuring C-reactive protein (CRP) has been recommended to identify patients at high risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) with low LDL cholesterol (LDL-C). Lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) is a proinflammatory enzyme associated primarily with LDL.

METHODS AND RESULTS: In a prospective, case cohort study in 12 819 apparently healthy middle-aged men and women in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study, the relation between Lp-PLA2, CRP, traditional risk factors, and risk for CHD events over a period of approximately 6 years was examined in a proportional hazards model, stratified by LDL-C. Lp-PLA2 and CRP levels were higher in the 608 cases than the 740 noncases. Both Lp-PLA2 and CRP were associated with incident CHD after adjustment for age, sex, and race with a hazard ratio of 1.78 for the highest tertile of Lp-PLA2 and 2.53 for the highest category of CRP versus the lowest categories. Lp-PLA2 correlated positively with LDL-C (r=0.36) and negatively with HDL-C (r=-0.33) but not with CRP (r=-0.05). In a model adjusted for traditional risk factors including LDL-C, the association of Lp-PLA2 with CHD was attenuated and not statistically significant. For individuals with LDL-C below the median (130 mg/dL), Lp-PLA2 and CRP were both significantly and independently associated with CHD in fully adjusted models. For individuals with LDL-C <130 mg/dL, those with both Lp-PLA2 and CRP levels in the highest tertile were at the greatest risk for a CHD event.

CONCLUSIONS: Lp-PLA2 and CRP may be complementary in identifying individuals at high CHD risk who have low LDL-C.

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