Lp(a) 30 mg/dL is Associated with an Absolute Increase in CAC Volume

BACKGROUND: Elevated plasma lipoprotein (a) [Lp(a)] and coronary artery calcification (CAC) are established cardiovascular risk factors that correlate with each other. We hypothesized that other cardiovascular risk factors could affect their relationship.

METHODS: We tested for interactions of 24 study variables related to dyslipidemia, diabetes, insulin resistance, hypertension, inflammation and coagulation with baseline Lp(a) on change in CAC volume and density over 9.5 years in 5975 Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) participants, free of apparent cardiovascular disease at baseline.

RESULTS: Elevated Lp(a) was associated with larger absolute increase in CAC volume (3.21 and 4.45 mm3/year higher for Lp(a) ≥30 versus <30 mg/dL, and Lp(a) ≥50 versus <50 mg/dL, respectively), but not relative change in CAC volume. No association was found with change in CAC density when assessing continuous ln-transformed Lp(a). The association between elevated Lp(a) (≥30 mg/dL) and absolute change in CAC volume was greater in participants with higher circulating levels of interleukin-2 soluble receptor α, soluble tumor necrosis factor alpha receptor 1 and fibrinogen (15.33, 11.81 and 7.02 mm3/year in quartile 4, compared to -3.44, -0.59 and 1.91 mm3/year in quartile 1, respectively). No significant interaction was found for other study variables. Similar interactions were seen when assessing Lp(a) levels ≥50 mg/dL.

CONCLUSIONS: Elevated Lp(a) was associated with an absolute increase in CAC volume, especially in participants with higher levels of selected markers of inflammation and coagulation. These results suggest Lp(a) as a potential biomarker for CAC volume progression.

Ong KL, et al. Lipoprotein (a) and coronary artery calcification: prospective study assessing interactions with other risk factors. Metabolism. 2021 Mar;116:154706. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2021. 154706. Epub 2021 Jan 7.