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Inheritability of atherosclerosis and the influences of serum lipids on atherosclerosis were examined by following its progression in selectively bred WHHL rabbits. Our studies indicate (1) coronary atherosclerosis is clearly inherited from parents by offspring whereas inheritability of aortic atherosclerosis is uncertain; (2) coronary stenosis is positively correlated to serum cholesterol level, although the correlation coefficient is markedly low: in contrast, no relationship between serum lipid levels and aortic atherosclerosis was observed; (3) cholesterol-rich VLDL showed atherogenicity in aorta, but not in coronary arteries; (4) an unknown lipoprotein detected by 3.6% polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis was related to coronary atherosclerosis, although no relationship between the unknown lipoprotein and aortic atherosclerosis was observed. These findings suggest that there are two types of genetic factors involved in atherosclerosis, one of which is unique to coronary atherosclerosis whereas the other is related to only aortic atherosclerosis.
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Accepted: June 1, 1992
Received in revised form: May 6, 1992
Received: December 2, 1991
© 1992 Published by Elsevier Inc.