Physicians' Academy for Cardiovascular Education

Subspecies of HDL associated with anthropometrical measures and physical activity

Associations of anthropometry and lifestyle factors with HDL subspecies according to apolipoprotein C-III

Literature - Koch M, Furtado JD, Jiang GZ, et al. - J Lipid Res. 2017, Epub ahead of print


Around 5-18% of HDL particles also contain apolipoprotein C-III (apoC-III) molecules, which are key regulators of triglyceride metabolism [1,2]. Low apoC-III levels are associated with a more beneficial lipid profile and less subclinical atherosclerosis [3]. Moreover, inhibition of apoC-III using antisense molecules resulted in less triglycerides and increased HDL-c [4].

Previous analyses of the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study showed the importance of HDL subspecies, as HDL-c without apoC-III was negatively associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), whereas HDL-c with apoC-III inversed this association [4,5].

Modification of apoC-III expression by, for example, lifestyle factors or anthropometrical measures, may be used for primary prevention. Current population-based study was performed to determine associations of HDL with and without apoC-III, with modifiable factors, including measures of waist and hip circumference, BMI and bioelectrical impedance derived fat mass, as well as lifestyle factors. In this study, 57,053 Danish-born residents were included, aged 50 to 65 years (1993-1997). All analyses were age- and sex-adjusted.

Main results


Several anthropometrical measures and physical activity strongly differentially associated with HDL subspecies, in which physical activity was the key factor. Regarding lifestyle, individuals with high alcohol consumption had higher levels of HDL without apoC-III. These factors are modifiable and it should therefore explored in intervention studies if an increase in physical activity differentially affects HDL subspecies via lowering abdominal obesity or by another mechanism. Furthermore, this study shows that beyond overall HDL, also protein composition of HDL might be relevant for the evaluation of primordial and primary prevention.


Show references

Find this article online at J Lipid Res.

Share this page with your colleagues and friends: