The aim of the study was to examine whether differences in average diameter of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particles were associated with total and cardiovascular mortality.Methods and results
We studied 1643 subjects referred to coronary angiography, who did not receive lipid-lowering drugs. During a median follow-up of 9.9 years, 398 patients died, of these 246 from cardiovascular causes. We calculated average particle diameters of LDL from the composition of LDL obtained by β-quantification. When LDL with intermediate average diameters (16.5–16.8 nm) were used as reference category, the hazard ratios (HRs) adjusted for cardiovascular risk factors for death from any cause were 1.71 (95% CI: 1.31–2.25) and 1.24 (95% CI: 0.95–1.63) in patients with large (>16.8 nm) or small LDL (<16.5 nm), respectively. Adjusted HRs for death from cardiovascular causes were 1.89 (95% CI: 1.32–2.70) and 1.54 (95% CI: 1.06–2.12) in patients with large or small LDL, respectively. Patients with large LDL had higher concentrations of the inflammatory markers interleukin (IL)-6 and C-reactive protein than patients with small or intermediate LDL. Equilibrium density gradient ultracentrifugation revealed characteristic and distinct profiles of LDL particles in persons with large (approximately even distribution of intermediate-density lipoproteins and LDL-1 through LDL-6) intermediate (peak concentration at LDL-4) or small (peak concentration at LDL-6) average LDL particle diameters.Conclusions
Calculated LDL particle diameters identify patients with different profiles of LDL subfractions. Both large and small LDL diameters are independently associated with increased risk mortality of all causes and, more so, due to cardiovascular causes compared with LDL of intermediate size.