BACKGROUND: Elevated plasma levels of direct low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), small dense LDL-C (sdLDL-C), low-density lipoprotein (LDL) triglycerides, triglycerides, triglyceride-rich lipoprotein cholesterol, remnant lipoprotein particle cho-lesterol, and lipoprotein(a) have all been associated with incident atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). Our goal was to assess which parameters were most strongly associated with ASCVD risk. METHODS AND RESULTS: Plasma total cholesterol, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, direct LDL-C, sdLDL-C, LDL triglycerides, remnant lipoprotein particle cholesterol, triglyceride-rich lipoprotein cholesterol, and lipoprotein(a) were measured using standardized automated analysis (coefficients of variation, <5.0%) in samples from 3094 fasting subjects free of ASCVD. Of these subjects, 20.2% developed ASCVD over 16 years. On univariate analysis, all ASCVD risk factors were significantly associated with incident ASCVD, as well as the following specialized lipoprotein parameters: sdLDL-C, LDL triglyc-erides, triglycerides, triglyceride-rich lipoprotein cholesterol, remnant lipoprotein particle cholesterol, and direct LDL-C. Only sdLDL-C, direct LDL-C, and lipoprotein(a) were significant on multivariate analysis and net reclassification after adjustment for standard risk factors (age, sex, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, smoking, total cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein cho-lesterol). Using the pooled cohort equation, many specialized lipoprotein parameters individually added significant information, but no parameter added significant information once sdLDL-C (hazard ratio, 1.42; P<0.0001) was in the model. These results for sdLDL-C were confirmed by adjusted discordance analysis versus calculated non–high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, in contrast to LDL triglycerides. CONCLUSIONS: sdLDL-C, direct LDL-C, and lipoprotein(a) all contributed significantly to ASCVD risk on multivariate analysis, but no parameter added significant risk information to the pooled cohort equation once sdLDL-C was in the model. Our data indicate that small dense LDL is the most atherogenic lipoprotein parameter.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes