Immunological evidence for the accumulation of lipoprotein(a) in the atherosclerotic lesion of the hypoascorbemic guinea pig

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1990 Dec;87(23):9388-90. doi: 10.1073/pnas.87.23.9388.


Lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)] is an extremely atherogenic lipoprotein. Lp(a) has been found in the plasma of humans and other primates, but until now only in a few other species. The mechanism by which it exerts its atherogenicity is still poorly understood. We observed that Lp(a) has been found in the plasma of several species unable to synthesize ascorbate and not in other species. We have now detected apoprotein(a) in the plasma of the guinea pig. We induced atherosclerosis in this animal by dietary ascorbate depletion and, using SDS/PAGE and subsequent immunoblotting, we identified Lp(a) as accumulating in the atherosclerotic plaque. Most importantly, adequate amounts of ascorbate (40 mg per kg of body weight per day) prevent the development of atherosclerotic lesions in this animal model and the accumulation of Lp(a) in the arterial wall. We suggest an analogous mechanism in humans because of the similarity between guinea pigs and humans with respect to both the lack of endogenous ascorbate production and the role of Lp(a) in human atherosclerosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies
  • Aorta / metabolism
  • Aorta / pathology
  • Arteriosclerosis / complications
  • Arteriosclerosis / metabolism*
  • Arteriosclerosis / pathology
  • Ascorbic Acid Deficiency / complications
  • Ascorbic Acid Deficiency / metabolism*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Female
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Lipoprotein(a)
  • Lipoproteins / analysis
  • Lipoproteins / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / metabolism
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / pathology


  • Antibodies
  • Lipoprotein(a)
  • Lipoproteins