Influences of common variants of apolipoprotein E on measures of lipid metabolism in a sample selected for health.
Five-hundred seventy-five white-collar workers (374 men; 99% Caucasians) aged 20-59 years were selected on the basis of their being healthy and clinically free from cardiovascular risk factors (except smoking and family history). We have observed a higher relative frequency of the epsilon 3 allele in this population, as is true of populations with a low prevalence of coronary heart disease. Each of the 11 plasma lipid and lipoprotein traits studied was adjusted for age, weight, height, body mass index, plasma glucose, and uric acid in men and women separately. The influence of each of the three common apo E alleles on each adjusted trait was evaluated by use of the average excess statistic. We established that in a population selected for health, the epsilon 2 allele is associated with lower plasma levels of total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and apolipoprotein B associated with LDL cholesterol in both men and women. Conversely, the epsilon 4 allele is associated with higher levels of these traits in women only. In contrast to the findings in populations not selected for health, the presence of the epsilon 2 allele in our subjects tended to be associated with lower and the epsilon 4 allele with higher plasma triglyceride levels. Finally and of particular note, the influence of the apolipoprotein E polymorphism on plasma measures of LDL metabolism is different in men and women. Specifically, the influence of the epsilon 4 allele is of greater magnitude in women. A part of this gender difference in allele effects on LDL metabolism in women is associated with the use of oral contraceptives and postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy.
- Copyright © 1991 by American Heart Association