Lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 prognostic role in atherosclerotic complications

World J Cardiol. 2015 Oct 26;7(10):609-20. doi: 10.4330/wjc.v7.i10.609.


Atherosclerosis manifests itself clinically at advanced stages when plaques undergo hemorrhage and/or rupture with superimposed thrombosis, thus abruptly stopping blood supply. Identification of markers of plaque destabilization at a pre-clinical stage is, therefore, a major goal of cardiovascular research. Promising results along this line were provided by studies investigating the lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2), a member of phospholipase A2 proteins family that plays a key role in the metabolism of pro-inflammatory phospholipids, as oxidized low-density lipoproteins, and in the generation of pro-atherogenic metabolites, including lysophosphatidylcholine and oxidized free fatty acids. We herein review the experimental and clinical studies supporting use of Lp-PLA2 activity for predicting cardiovascular events. To his end we considered not only Lp-PLA2 activity and mass, but also Lp-PLA2 gene variations and their association with incident coronary artery disease, stroke, and cardiovascular mortality. Based on these evidences the major scientific societies have included in their guidelines the measurement of Lp-PLA2 activity among the biomarkers that are useful in risk stratification of adult asymptomatic patients at intermediate cardiovascular risk. The results of two recently published major clinical trials with the Lp-PLA2 inhibitor darapladib, which seem to challenge the pathogenic role of Lp-PLA2, will also be discussed.

Keywords: Atherosclerosis; Coronary artery disease; Lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2; Myocardial infarction; Prognosis.

Publication types

  • Review