Relationship of lipoprotein(a) molar concentrations and mass according to lipoprotein(a) thresholds and apolipoprotein(a) isoform size

Sotirios Tsimikas, Sergio Fazio, Nicholas J. Viney, Shuting Xia, Joseph L. Witztum, Santica M. Marcovina

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    Background: Lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)] is reported as Lp(a) particle mass (mg/dL) or molar concentration of apolipoprotein(a) [apo(a)] (nmol/L), which is considered the gold standard. Values are often converted from one measurement to the other but the validity of this is unknown. Objectives: To quantify the relationship between Lp(a) molar concentration and Lp(a) mass in the context of various Lp(a) level thresholds and apo(a) isoform size. Methods: In all samples, Lp(a) levels in molar concentration and apo(a) isoform size were determined at the Northwest Lipid Metabolism and Diabetes Research Laboratories (NLMDRL). Lp(a) mass levels were determined at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) (1635 samples), by 5 commercially available assays: Denka 1 and Denka 2 (each 80 samples), 2 turbidimetric assays (2545 and 2673 samples, respectively), and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (2605 samples). The ratios between Lp(a) molar concentration and mass (eg, nmol/L/mg/dL) were calculated and related to apo(a) isoform size. Results: The mean (SD) ratios for NLMDRL/UCSD, NLMDRL/Denka1, and NLMDRL/Denka2 were 2.42 (1.25), 1.64 (0.18), and 2.02 (0.22), respectively. The ratios for NLMDRL/UCSD, NLMDRL/Denka1, and NLMDRL/Denka2 increased by Lp(a) cutoffs, with ratios of 1.82, 1.52, and 1.87, respectively, for Lp(a) < 75 nmol/L and 2.80, 1.89, and 2.24, respectively, for Lp(a) > 125 nmol/L. For the commercial turbidimetric assays and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, the ratios ranged from <1 to >5. Conclusions: Lp(a) molar/mass ratios are threshold, method, and isoform dependent. A single factor between assays is not appropriate. These data support the transition of Lp(a) mass assays to molar concentration to improve diagnostic and clinical interpretation of Lp(a)-mediated risk.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    JournalJournal of Clinical Lipidology
    StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018



    • Aortic stenosis
    • Assay
    • Cardiovascular disease
    • Lipoprotein(a)

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Internal Medicine
    • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
    • Nutrition and Dietetics
    • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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