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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Very Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol May Mediate a Substantial Component of the Effect of Obesity on Myocardial Infarction Risk: The Copenhagen General Population Study

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BACKGROUND: Individuals with obesity have higher concentrations of very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol and increased risk of myocardial infarction. We hypothesized that VLDL cholesterol explains a fraction of the excess myocardial infarction risk in individuals with obesity.

METHODS: We included 29 010 individuals free of myocardial infarction at baseline, nested within 109 751 individuals from the Copenhagen General Population Study. During 10 years of follow-up, 2306 individuals developed myocardial infarction. Cholesterol content in large and small VLDLs, in intermediate-density lipoprotein (IDL), and in LDL was measured directly with nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

RESULTS: Median concentrations of cholesterol in large and small VLDLs were 0.12 mmol/L (interquartile range [IQR], 0.07-0.20 mmol/L; 4.5 mg/dL [IQR, 2.6-6.9 mg/dL]) and 0.6 mmol/L (IQR, 0.5-0.8 mmol/L; 25 mg/dL [IQR, 20-30 mg/dL]) in individuals with obesity vs 0.06 mmol/L (IQR, 0.03-0.1 mmol/L; 2.2 mg/dL [IQR, 1.1-3.8 mg/dL]), and 0.5 mmol/L (IQR, 0.4-0.6 mmol/L; 20 mg/dL (IQR, 16-25 mg/dL]) in individuals with normal weight; in contrast, concentrations of IDL and LDL cholesterol were similar across body mass index (BMI) categories. Cholesterol in large and small VLDLs combined explained 40% (95% CI, 27%-53%) of the excess risk of myocardial infarction associated with higher BMI. In contrast, IDL and LDL cholesterol did not explain excess risk of myocardial infarction, whereas systolic blood pressure explained 17% (11%-23%) and diabetes mellitus explained 8.6% (3.2%-14%).

CONCLUSIONS: VLDL cholesterol explains a large fraction of excess myocardial infarction risk in individuals with obesity. These novel findings support a focus on cholesterol in VLDL for prevention of myocardial infarction and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in individuals with obesity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Chemistry
Volume67
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)276-287
Number of pages12
ISSN0009-9147
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2021

ID: 61899385