High lipoprotein(a) levels and small apolipoprotein(a) sizes are associated with endothelial dysfunction in a multiethnic cohort

Henry D. Wu, Lars Berglund, Clarito Dimayuga, Jeffery Jones, Robert R. Sciacca, Marco R. Di Tullio, Shunichi Homma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Objectives This study sought to determine the effect of lipoprotein(a), or Lp(a), levels and apolipoprotein(a), or apo(a), sizes on endothelial function and to explore ethnic differences in their effects. Background Although high levels of Lp(a) have been shown to confer increased cardiovascular risk in Caucasians, its significance in non-Caucasian populations is uncertain. The pathogenic role of the apo(a) component of Lp(a) is also unclear. Methods The relationship of Lp(a) levels and apo(a) sizes to endothelial function was examined in a multiethnic cohort of 89 healthy subjects (age 42 ± 9 years; 50 men, 39 women) free of other cardiac risk factors. Endothelium-dependent, flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and endothelium-independent, nitrate-induced dilation (NTG) were assessed by ultrasound imaging of the brachial artery. Results Plasma Lp(a) levels were lowest in Caucasians (18.3 ± 21.1 mg/dl, n = 40); intermediate in Hispanics (30.2 ± 30.5 mg/dl, n = 21); and highest in African Americans (68.8 ± 46.0 mg/dl, n = 28). Lipoprotein(a) levels were found to correlate inversely to FMD (r = -0.33, p < 0.005) but not to NTG (r = 0.06, p = 0.60). This association remained significant after adjusting for gender (p = 0.002). In addition, subjects with small apo(a) size of ≤22 kringle 4 repeats had significantly lower FMD than those with large apo(a) (2.23 ± 2.37% vs. 6.26 ± 4.29%, p < 0.0001), irrespective of Lp(a) levels. Conclusions These findings support an independent role of Lp(a) in atherogenesis, an effect that is particularly evident in African Americans. The proatherogenic property of Lp(a) can be attributed in part to its apo(a) component.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1828-1833
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 19 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • apo(a)
  • apolipoprotein(a)
  • flow-mediated dilation
  • FMD
  • HDL
  • high-density lipoprotein
  • K4
  • kringle 4
  • LDL
  • lipoprotein(a)
  • low-density lipoprotein
  • Lp(a)
  • nitrate-induced dilation
  • NTG

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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