DOI: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehad337 ISSN: 0195-668X

Triglyceride-rich lipoprotein remnants, low-density lipoproteins, and risk of coronary heart disease: a UK Biobank study

Elias Björnson, Martin Adiels, Marja-Riitta Taskinen, Stephen Burgess, Aidin Rawshani, Jan Borén, Chris J Packard
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine



The strength of the relationship of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins (TRL) with risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) compared with low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is yet to be resolved.

Methods and results

Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with TRL/remnant cholesterol (TRL/remnant-C) and LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) were identified in the UK Biobank population. In a multivariable Mendelian randomization analysis, TRL/remnant-C was strongly and independently associated with CHD in a model adjusted for apolipoprotein B (apoB). Likewise, in a multivariable model, TRL/remnant-C and LDL-C also exhibited independent associations with CHD with odds ratios per 1 mmol/L higher cholesterol of 2.59 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.99–3.36] and 1.37 [95% CI: 1.27–1.48], respectively. To examine the per-particle atherogenicity of TRL/remnants and LDL, SNPs were categorized into two clusters with differing effects on TRL/remnant-C and LDL-C. Cluster 1 contained SNPs in genes related to receptor-mediated lipoprotein removal that affected LDL-C more than TRL/remnant-C, whereas cluster 2 contained SNPs in genes related to lipolysis that had a much greater effect on TRL/remnant-C. The CHD odds ratio per standard deviation (Sd) higher apoB for cluster 2 (with the higher TRL/remnant to LDL ratio) was 1.76 (95% CI: 1.58–1.96), which was significantly greater than the CHD odds ratio per Sd higher apoB in cluster 1 [1.33 (95% CI: 1.26–1.40)]. A concordant result was obtained by using polygenic scores for each cluster to relate apoB to CHD risk.


Distinct SNP clusters appear to impact differentially on remnant particles and LDL. Our findings are consistent with TRL/remnants having a substantially greater atherogenicity per particle than LDL.

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