AIMS: Elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease; however, there is uncertainty about the role of total triglycerides and the individual triglyceride-containing lipoprotein sub-fractions. We measured 14 triglyceride-containing lipoprotein sub-fractions using nuclear magnetic resonance and examined associations with coronary heart disease and stroke.
METHODS: Triglyceride-containing sub-fraction measures were available in 11,560 participants from the three UK cohorts free of coronary heart disease and stroke at baseline. Multivariable logistic regression was used to estimate the association of each sub-fraction with coronary heart disease and stroke expressed as the odds ratio per standard deviation increment in the corresponding measure.
RESULTS: The 14 triglyceride-containing sub-fractions were positively correlated with one another and with total triglycerides, and inversely correlated with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). Thirteen sub-fractions were positively associated with coronary heart disease (odds ratio in the range 1.12 to 1.22), with the effect estimates for coronary heart disease being comparable in subgroup analysis of participants with and without type 2 diabetes, and were attenuated after adjustment for HDL-C and LDL-C. There was no evidence for a clear association of any triglyceride lipoprotein sub-fraction with stroke.
CONCLUSIONS: Triglyceride sub-fractions are associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease but not stroke, with attenuation of effects on adjustment for HDL-C and LDL-C.