Background: We have previously reported that the prevalence of coronary artery calcification (CAC) was substantially lower among Japanese than American men despite a less favorable profile of many traditional risk factors in Japanese men. To determine whether lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) levels are related to the difference in the prevalence of CAC between the two populations.
Methods: A total of 200 men aged 40-49 years were examined: 100 residents in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States, and 100 residents in Kusatsu City, Shiga, Japan. Coronary calcium score (CCS) was evaluated by electron-beam tomography, Lp-PLA2 levels, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) lipoprotein subclasses, and other factors were assessed in 2001-2002.
Results: Lp-PLA2 levels were higher among American than Japanese men (Mean +/- standard deviation 301.7 +/- 82.6 versus 275.9 +/- 104.7 ng/mL, respectively, p=0.06). Among all Japanese men and those with low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol > or =130 mg/dL, there was an inverse association of the prevalence of CCS>0 with the tertile groups of Lp-PLA2 levels (p=0.08 and p=0.03, respectively). American men did not have any association between CCS>0 with the tertile groups of Lp-PLA2 (p=0.62). Although Lp-PLA2 among both populations correlated positively with LDL and total cholesterol, American and Japanese men had different correlations with NMR lipoprotein subclasses. Reported high odds ratio for CCS>0 among American compared to Japanese men was not reduced after adjusting for Lp-PLA2 levels.
Conclusion: Lp-PLA2 may have different mechanisms of action among American and Japanese men. Lp-PLA2 levels can not explain the observed CAC differences between the two populations.