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Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM)

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Volume 42, Issue 12 (Dec 2004)


The apoB/apoA-I ratio is better than the cholesterol ratios to estimate the balance between plasma proatherogenic and antiatherogenic lipoproteins and to predict coronary risk

Göran Walldius
  • King Gustaf V Research Institute, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden and AstraZeneca, Molndal, Sweden
/ Ingmar Jungner
  • CALAB Research, Stockholm and Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
/ Are H. Aastveit
  • Department of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science, Agricultural University of Norway, As, Norway
/ Ingar Holme
  • Preventive Medicine Clinic, Ulleval University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
/ Curt D. Furberg
  • Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, United States of America
/ Allan D. Sniderman
  • Mike Rosenblom Laboratory for Cardiovascular Research, McGill University Health Center, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada
Published Online: 2005-06-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/CCLM.2004.254


Background: The apolipoprotein B (apoB)/apoA-I ratio represents the balance of proatherogenic and antiatherogenic lipoproteins. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the apoB/apoA-I ratio was superior to any of the cholesterol ratios – total cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (TC/HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C)/HDL-C and non-HDL-C/HDL-C – in predicting the risk of coronary disease. Moreover, we examined whether any lipids, lipoproteins or cholesterol ratios add significant predictive information beyond that provided by the apoB/apoA-I ratio.

Methods: Plasma lipids, lipoproteins, apoB, and apoA-I were measured in 69,030 men and 57,168 women above 40years of age. After a mean follow-up of 98months, 1183 men and 560 women had died from a myocardial infarction in this prospective apolipoprotein-related mortality risk (AMORIS) study.

Results: High apoB and a high apoB/apoA-I ratio were strongly related to increased coronary risk, while high apoA-I was inversely related to risk. The apoB/apoA-I ratio was superior to any of the cholesterol ratios in predicting risk. This advantage was most pronounced in subjects with LDL-C levels <3.6mmol/l. Addition of lipids, lipoproteins or any cholesterol ratio to apoB/apoA-I in risk models did not further improve the strong predictive value of apoB/apoA-I.

Conclusions: These results indicate that the apoB/apoA-I ratio is at present the best single lipoprotein-related variable to quantitate coronary risk. Given the additional advantages apolipoproteins possess – fasting samples are not required, apoB/apoA-I is a better index of the adequacy of statin therapy than LDL-C, and the measurement of apoB and apoA-I are standardized, whereas LDL-C and HDL-C are not – there would appear to be considerable advantage to integrating apolipoproteins into clinical practice.

Keywords: apolipoprotein A-I; apolipoprotein B; fatal myocardial infarction; guidelines; lipoproteins


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About the article

Corresponding author: Prof. G. Walldius, AstraZeneca, 431 83 Molndal, Sweden Phone: +46-31-7762678, Fax: +46-31-7763802,

Received: 2004-08-18

Accepted: 2004-10-05

Published Online: 2005-06-01

Published in Print: 2004-12-01

Citation Information: Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM), ISSN (Online) 1437-4331, ISSN (Print) 1434-6621, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/CCLM.2004.254. Export Citation

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