Background: Oxidized LDL (oxLDL) is thought to play a key role in the inflammatory response in the arterial vessel wall.
Methods and results: In a prospective, nested, case-control study, the association between plasma oxLDL and risk of an acute coronary heart disease (CHD) event was investigated in men without prevalent CHD or diabetes mellitus at baseline. Subjects came from 2 population-based MONICA/KORA Augsburg surveys conducted in the years 1989-1990 and 1994-1995 with follow-up in 1998 (mean+/-SD follow-up time, 5.6+/-2.6 years). OxLDL was determined by ELISA in 88 men with incident CHD and in 258 age- and survey-matched controls. Hazard ratios (HRs) were estimated from conditional logistic-regression models with matching for age and survey. Baseline mean plasma oxLDL concentrations were significantly higher in subjects who subsequently experienced an event compared with controls (mean+/-SD, 110+/-32 versus 93+/-28 U/L; P< or =0.001). After adjustment for smoking, hypertension, obesity, physical activity, education, and alcohol consumption, the HR for a future CHD event in a comparison of the upper tertile of the oxLDL distribution with the lower tertile was 4.25 (95% confidence interval, 2.09 to 8.63; P<0.001). Plasma oxLDL was the strongest predictor of CHD events compared with a conventional lipoprotein profile and other traditional risk factors for CHD. When both oxLDL and C-reactive protein were simultaneously assessed in the same model, they still predicted future CHD events even after multivariable adjustment.
Conclusions: Elevated concentrations of oxLDL are predictive of future CHD events in apparently healthy men. Thus, oxLDL may represent a promising risk marker for clinical CHD complications and should be evaluated in further studies.