Common and Rare Alleles in Apolipoprotein B Contribute to Plasma Levels of Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol in the General Population

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Abstract

Context:

We have previously shown that rare mutations in the apolipoprotein B gene (APOB) may result in not only severe hypercholesterolemia and ischemic heart disease but also hypocholesterolemia. Despite this, common single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in APOB have not convincingly been demonstrated to affect low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels.

Objective:

We tested the hypothesis that nonsynonymous SNPs in three important functional domains of APOB and APOB tag SNPs predict levels of LDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B and risk of ischemic heart disease.

Design:

This was a prospective study with 25 yr 100% follow up, The Copenhagen City Heart Study.

Setting:

The study was conducted in the Danish general population.

Participants:

Participants included 9185 women and men aged 20-80+ yr.

Main Outcome Measures:

Levels of LDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B and risk of ischemic heart disease and myocardial infarction were measured. The hypothesis was formulated before genotyping.

Results:

We genotyped 9185 individuals for APOB T71I (minor allele frequency: 0.33), Ivs4+171c>a (0.14), A591V (0.47), Ivs18+379a>c (0.30), Ivs18+1708g>t (0.45), T2488Tc>t (0.48), P2712L (0.21), R3611Q (0.09), E4154K (0.17), and N4311S (0.21). SNPs were associated with increases (T71I, Ivs181708g>t, T2488Tc>t, R3611) or decreases (Ivs4+171c>a, A591V, Ivs18+379a>c, P2712L, E4154, N4311S) in LDL cholesterol from −4.7 to +8.2% (−0.28 to 0.30 mmol/liter; P ≤ 0.002), and corresponding effects on cholesterol and apolipoprotein B levels. However, as predicted from the magnitude of the observed LDL cholesterol effects, none of these SNPs predicted risk of ischemic heart disease prospectively in the general population, in a case-control study, or as haplotypes.

Conclusions:

Multiple common and rare alleles in APOB contribute to plasma levels of LDL cholesterol in the general population, although the effects of common alleles and haplotypes are modest.

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