Objective. Traditional classification of hyperlipidemia using high-density lipoprotein, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and very low-density lipoprotein does not provide information on lipoprotein function. Apolipoproteins (Apos), which are protein components of plasma lipoproteins (including A, B, C, D, E) with their different composition, metabolic, and atherogenic properties, provide insight on lipoprotein functioning. In particular, the Apo B/A-I ratio is associated with atherogenic LDL and development of cardiovascular disease. We explored the baseline association between these nontraditional risk factors with subclinical measures of atherosclerosis (coronary artery calcification [CAC] and carotid intima-media thickness [IMT]) in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Methods. A total of 58 SLE patients (97% women, 58% white, 40% African American, and 2% other, mean ± SD age 44 ± 11 years) had measurement of Apo and lipoproteins by immunoturbidimetric procedures, electroimmunoassays, and immunoprecipitation. CAC was measured by helical computed tomography and carotid IMT by carotid duplex. This study was based on the baseline assessment of subclinical atherosclerosis in the Lupus Atherosclerosis Prevention Study. The measurement of the lipoproteins was made on sera collected at the same time. Results. There was no association between cardioprotective Apos (Apo A-I, LpA-I, LpA-I:A-II) and CAC (P < 0.15, P < 0.41, and P < 0.39, respectively) or carotid IMT (P < 0.97, P < 0.53, and P < 0.76, respectively). CAC and carotid IMT did not associate with atherogenic Apos either, including LpB:E+LpB:C:E, Apo B, LpB, LpB:C, Apo C-III, Apo C-III-HS, Apo C-III-HP, Apo C-III-R, LpA-II:B:C:D:E, and Apo B/Apo A-I. Measures of disease activity, including physician's global assessment and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index, were not associated with CAC or carotid IMT. Conclusion. Neither cardioprotective nor atherogenic lipoproteins were associated with measures of subclinical atherosclerosis in this series of SLE patients. Further studies with a larger sample size are warranted to confirm our findings.
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