Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Some HDL, or 'good' cholesterol, may not protect against heart disease

Date:
May 7, 2012
Source:
Harvard School of Public Health
Summary:
A new study has found that a subclass of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, the so-called "good" cholesterol, may not protect against coronary heart disease and in fact may be harmful.

A new study by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers has found that a subclass of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the so-called "good" cholesterol, may not protect against coronary heart disease (CHD) and in fact may be harmful.

Related Articles


This is the first study to show that a small protein, apolipoprotein C-III (apoC-III), that sometimes resides on the surface of HDL cholesterol may increase the risk of heart disease and that HDL cholesterol without this protein may be especially heart protective.

The study was published online in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

"This finding, if confirmed in ongoing studies, could lead to better evaluation of risk of heart disease in individuals and to more precise targeting of treatments to raise the protective HDL or lower the unfavorable HDL with apoC-III," said Frank Sacks, professor of cardiovascular disease prevention at HSPH and senior author of the study.

A high level of HDL cholesterol is strongly predictive of a low incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD). But trials of drugs that increase HDL cholesterol have not consistently shown decreases in CHD, leading to the hypothesis that HDL cholesterol may contain both protective and non-protective components.

ApoC-III, a proinflammatory protein, resides on the surface of some lipoproteins -- both HDL and low-density lipoproteins, or LDL ("bad") cholesterol. The researchers, led by Sacks and Majken Jensen, research associate in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH, examined whether the existence or absence of apoC-III on HDL cholesterol affected the "good" cholesterol's heart-protective qualities, and whether its existence could differentiate HDL cholesterol into two subclasses -- those which protect against the risk of future heart disease and those which do not.

Blood samples collected in 1989 and 1990 from 32,826 women in the Brigham and Women's Hospital-based Nurses' Health Study were examined, along with blood samples collected from 1993 to 1995 from 18,225 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. During 10 to 14 years of follow-up, 634 cases of coronary heart disease were documented and matched with controls for age, smoking, and date of blood drawing.

The researchers compared plasma concentrations of total HDL, HDL that has apoC-III, and HDL without apoC-III as predictors of the risk of CHD.

After adjusting for age, smoking status and other dietary and lifestyle cardiovascular risk factors, the researchers found that two different subclasses of HDL have opposite associations with the risk of CHD in apparently healthy men and women. The major HDL type, which lacks apoC-III, had the expected heart-protective association with CHD. But the small fraction (13%) of HDL cholesterol that has apoC-III present on its surface was paradoxically associated with a higher, not lower, risk of future CHD. Those men and women who had HDL apoC-III in the highest 20% of the population had a 60% increased risk of CHD.

The results suggest that measuringHDL apoC-III and HDL without apoC-III rather than the simpler measure of total HDL may be a better gauge of heart disease risk (or of HDL's protective capacity). "Reduction in HDL-apoC-III by diet or drug treatments may become an indicator of efficacy," said Jensen.

The study was supported by The National Institutes of Health and the Villum Kann Rasmussen Foundation (Denmark).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Harvard School of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. K. Jensen, E. B. Rimm, J. D. Furtado, F. M. Sacks. Apolipoprotein C-III as a Potential Modulator of the Association Between HDL-Cholesterol and Incident Coronary Heart Disease. Journal of the American Heart Association, 2012; 1 (2): jah3-e000232 DOI: 10.1161/JAHA.111.000232

Cite This Page:

Harvard School of Public Health. "Some HDL, or 'good' cholesterol, may not protect against heart disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120507165559.htm>.
Harvard School of Public Health. (2012, May 7). Some HDL, or 'good' cholesterol, may not protect against heart disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120507165559.htm
Harvard School of Public Health. "Some HDL, or 'good' cholesterol, may not protect against heart disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120507165559.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) Carnegie Mellon researchers found frequent hugs can help people avoid stress-related illnesses. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins