Positive family history for coronary heart disease and ‘midband lipoproteins’ are potential risk factors of carotid atherosclerosis in familial hypercholesterolemia


      Patients with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) were examined with B-mode ultrasound in order to determine intima-media thickness (IMT) in the common carotid artery, and to uncover potential risk factors responsible for the development of IMT. Ninety seven FH subjects and 132 non FH type IIa hyperlipidemic subjects were involved in the present study. Age was found to correlate positively with IMT in both FH and non FH groups. FH individuals showed a higher IMT, along with elevated low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, compared with age-matched non FH individuals. To clarify potential factors contributing to the formation and development of carotid atherosclerosis, we divided the FH subjects into two subgroups, namely FH with high IMT group (HIG), and those with low IMT group (LIG). We investigated those two subgroups on the presence of angiographically documented coronary heart disease (CHD), of family history of CHD and of ‘midband lipoproteins’ by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) analysis, by matching for age and LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) level. Fifty percent of FH men in HIG was found to have CHD, whereas only 14% of those in LIG had CHD (P<0.05). Thirty-three percent of FH women in HIG was found to have CHD, whereas only 12% of those in LIG had CHD (P<0.05). Fifty percent of FH men in HIG was found to have ‘midband lipoproteins’, whereas only 7% of those in LIG had ‘midband lipoproteins’ (P<0.01). Seventy-three percent of FH women in HIG had ‘midband lipoproteins’, whereas only 21% of those in LIG had ‘midband lipoproteins’ (P<0.0005). Fifty-five percent of FH men in HIG was had positive family history for CHD, whereas only 14% of those in LIG had positive family history for CHD (P<0.05). Sixty-three percent of FH women in HIG was found to have positive family history for CHD, whereas only 29% of those in LIG had positive family history for CHD (P<0.05). Based on these findings, we propose that, besides age and elevated levels of LDL-C, positive family history for CHD and ‘midband lipoproteins’ are important determinants for the development of carotid atherosclerosis in FH individuals in Japanese population.


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