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LDL quality is a novel, modifiable cardiovascular risk marker

July 11, 2018
University of Helsinki
The presence of sticky, aggregation-prone LDL in circulation is an independent predictor of cardiovascular death. This novel finding indicates that in addition to LDL-cholesterol levels, the quality of the cholesterol-carrying LDL particles also needs to be considered when estimating the cardiovascular risk of a person, say the researchers.

Scientists at the Wihuri Research Institute and the University of Helsinki, Finland, developed a method that can be used to monitor the quality of circulating LDL particles by measuring the susceptibility of the LDL particles to aggregate.

The LDL aggregates have a tendency to accumulate in the arterial wall, where they induce the formation of cholesterol-rich plaques. LDL aggregates can also induce local inflammation in the plaques. An inflamed plaque can then rupture and cause myocardial infarction.

The scientists found that LDL isolated from patients with known cardiovascular disease was more aggregation-prone than LDL isolated from healthy individuals. The most aggregation-prone LDL was found in those patients who later died from cardiovascular disease.

"This is the first study to show that there are measurable inter-individual differences in the aggregation susceptibility of LDL particles, and that aggregation-prone LDL is predictive of cardiovascular death," summarizes Dr. Katariina Öörni, who led the research team.

There is also good news: the study showed that the quality of LDL particles can be improved by cholesterol-lowering medication or by healthy diet. "Increase in consumption of vegetable oils and decrease in consumption of sugar decreased LDL aggregation," describes Maija Ruuth, the first author of the research article.

In the future, the new measurement of LDL aggregation may help to improve cardiovascular risk. "This new biomarker may also facilitate identification of patients with currently unrecognized risk for cardiovascular events," suggests Professor Petri Kovanen, a member of the research team.

Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Helsinki. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Maija Ruuth, Su Duy Nguyen, Terhi Vihervaara, Mika Hilvo, Teemu D Laajala, Pradeep Kumar Kondadi, Anton Gisterå, Hanna Lähteenmäki, Tiia Kittilä, Jenni Huusko, Matti Uusitupa, Ursula Schwab, Markku J Savolainen, Juha Sinisalo, Marja-Liisa Lokki, Markku S Nieminen, Antti Jula, Markus Perola, Seppo Ylä-Herttula, Lawrence Rudel, Anssi Öörni, Marc Baumann, Amos Baruch, Reijo Laaksonen, Daniel F J Ketelhuth, Tero Aittokallio, Matti Jauhiainen, Reijo Käkelä, Jan Borén, Kevin Jon Williams, Petri T Kovanen, Katariina Öörni. Susceptibility of low-density lipoprotein particles to aggregate depends on particle lipidome, is modifiable, and associates with future cardiovascular deaths. European Heart Journal, 2018; 39 (27): 2562 DOI: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehy319

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University of Helsinki. "LDL quality is a novel, modifiable cardiovascular risk marker." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 July 2018. <>.
University of Helsinki. (2018, July 11). LDL quality is a novel, modifiable cardiovascular risk marker. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 24, 2024 from
University of Helsinki. "LDL quality is a novel, modifiable cardiovascular risk marker." ScienceDaily. (accessed June 24, 2024).

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