Aims: To identify factors that influence plasma levels and assess the prognostic value of lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) activity in a prospective, population-based survey of the epidemiology and pathogenesis of atherosclerosis.
Methods and results: The Bruneck study is a prospective, population-based survey initiated in 1990. Lp-PLA2 activity and baseline variables for the current analysis were measured in 765 subjects aged 45-84 years in 1995. Incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) (cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, stroke, and transient ischaemic attack) and rates of non-CVD mortality were assessed between 1995 and 2005. Subjects with incident CVD had higher levels of Lp-PLA2 activity (884 +/- 196 vs. 771 +/- 192 micromol/min/L, P < 0.001). Increased Lp-PLA2 activity was significantly related to incident CVD [age- and sex-adjusted hazard ratio (95%CI) 2.9 (1.6-5.5); third vs. first tertile group; P < 0.001] and with vascular mortality but not with non-CVD mortality. Lp-PLA2 activity was enhanced in subjects with the metabolic syndrome and showed highly significant positive associations with LDL-C, apoB-100, ferritin, and HOMA-IR, and inverse associations with HDL-C and anti-oxidant levels.
Conclusion: Increased Lp-PLA2 activity is associated with metabolic syndrome and incident fatal and non-fatal CVD, but not with non-CVD mortality. Furthermore, Lp-PLA2 activity is strongly influenced by ferritin levels, LDL-C, and apoB-100 supporting its integral role in lipid peroxidation. Clinical utility of Lp-PLA2 activity for prediction of cardiovascular risk has to be explored in future studies.