Apolipoprotein E polymorphism is associated with both carotid and coronary atherosclerosis in patients with coronary artery disease

Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2008 May;18(4):271-7. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2007.01.003. Epub 2007 Apr 26.


Background and aims: Apolipoprotein E (apoE) polymorphism plays a significant role in the development of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to examine the association between apoE polymorphism and carotid intima-media thickness (IMT), and severity and extent of coronary artery disease (CAD).

Methods and results: B-mode ultrasound and quantitative coronary angiography (QCA) were used to assess carotid, and coronary artery atherosclerosis in 91 patients with clinically suspected CAD referred for cardiac catheterization. Two apoE phenotype groups were defined: apoE3 (E3/E3) and apoE4 (including E4/E3, E4/E4 phenotypes). Maximum IMT was higher in the apoE4 group than in the apoE3 group (p=0.022). The global atheroma burden index was similarly higher in the apoE4 group than in the apoE3 group (p=0.033). ApoE4 subjects had higher levels of apolipoprotein B (apoB) (p=0.008), triglycerides (p=0.006), remnant lipoprotein-cholesterol (RLP-C) (p=0.023), and lipoprotein(a) [(Lp(a)] (p=0.041) than apoE3 subjects. The mean LDL particle size was smaller in the apoE4 group than in the apoE3 group (p=0.041).

Conclusions: ApoE polymorphism was associated with both carotid and coronary atherosclerosis. Patients with the apoE4 isoform had an increased carotid IMT and a more severe and extensive CAD than patients with the apoE3 isoform.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apolipoprotein E3 / genetics
  • Apolipoprotein E4 / genetics
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics*
  • Carotid Arteries / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Arteries / pathology
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / epidemiology
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / genetics*
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / pathology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Coronary Artery Disease / epidemiology
  • Coronary Artery Disease / genetics*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / pathology
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenotype
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tunica Intima / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tunica Intima / pathology
  • Ultrasonography


  • Apolipoprotein E3
  • Apolipoprotein E4
  • Apolipoproteins E
  • Protein Isoforms