The association of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) subclass patterns with coronary heart disease was investigated in a case-control study of nonfatal myocardial infarction. Subclasses of LDL were analyzed by gradient gel electrophoresis of plasma samples from 109 cases and 121 controls. The LDL subclass pattern characterized by a preponderance of small, dense LDL particles was significantly associated with a threefold increased risk of myocardial infarction, independent of age, sex, and relative weight. Plasma levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol were decreased, and levels of triglyceride, very low—density lipoproteins, and intermediate-density lipoproteins were increased in subjects with this LDL subclass pattern. Multivariate logistic regression analyses showed that both high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride levels contributed to the risk associated with the small, dense LDL subclass pattern. Thus, the metabolic trait responsible for this LDL subclass pattern results in a set of interrelated lipoprotein changes that lead to increased risk of coronary heart disease.
Melissa A. Austin, Jan L. Breslow, Charles H. Hennekens, Julie E. Buring, Walter C. Willett, Ronald M. Krauss. Low-Density Lipoprotein Subclass Patterns and Risk of Myocardial Infarction. JAMA. 1988;260(13):1917–1921. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410130125037