Lipid metabolism and apolipoprotein E phenotypes in patients with xanthelasma

Am J Med. 1995 Nov;99(5):485-90. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9343(99)80224-1.


Purpose: To know the prevalence and types of dyslipidemia associated with xanthelasma.

Patients and methods: One hundred fifteen patients with xanthelasma and 105 age-matched control subjects without xanthelasma were evaluated in a cross-sectional study. Univariate and multivariate comparisons of lipid variables (including total cholesterol; triglycerides; very-low-, low-, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol [VLDL-C, LDL-C, and HDL-C, respectively]; cholesterol of high density lipoprotein [HDL] subfractions 2 and 3 [HDL2-C and HDL3-C]; apolipoprotein (apo) A-I and B; and apo E phenotypes) and nonlipid coronary risk factors were made between patients with and without xanthelasma.

Results: Patients with xanthelasma had higher levels of cholesterol, LDL-C, and apo B, and lower levels of HDL2-C than control subjects. The prevalence of the apo E4/E3 phenotype was higher in cases than in controls (P < 0.05). Patients with xanthelasma had a higher prevalence of personal and familiar history of cardiovascular disease and were more overweight than control subjects. A stepwise discriminant analysis disclosed an independent association of xanthelasma with lower HDL-C, HDL2-C, and HDL3-C levels in men, and with higher total cholesterol and lower HDL2-C levels in women.

Conclusions: Xanthelasma appears to be associated with qualitative and quantitative abnormalities of lipid metabolism that may favor lipid deposition in the skin and arterial wall. The findings support the notion that xanthelasma is a marker of dyslipidemia, and underline the need to determine a full lipid profile in these patients to detect those potentially at increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipidemias / blood
  • Hyperlipidemias / complications*
  • Hyperlipidemias / genetics
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenotype
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Xanthomatosis / blood*
  • Xanthomatosis / etiology
  • Xanthomatosis / genetics*


  • Apolipoproteins E
  • Lipids