Most humans are in the nonfasting or postprandial state in the majority of a 24 hour cycle; however, lipids, lipoproteins, and apolipoproteins are usually measured in the fasting state. Recent studies demonstrate that these values at most change minimally in response to normal food intake, changes that are clinically unimportant. Also, elevated levels of nonfasting triglycerides as a marker of elevated remnant lipoprotein cholesterol associate strongly with increased risk of myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, and early death. The mechanism behind these findings likely involves entrance of remnant lipoproteins into the arterial intima with subsequent retention leading to atherogenesis, while low HDL cholesterol levels may be an innocent bystander. Finally, nonfasting levels of total cholesterol, non-HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, apolipoprotein B, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, apolipoprotein A1, total cholesterol/HDL cholesterol, and apolipoprotein B/apolipoprotein A1 all associate with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. These new data open the possibility that nonfasting rather than fasting lipid profiles can be used for cardiovascular risk prediction. If implemented, this would simplify blood sampling for lipid measurements for millions of patients worldwide. Furthermore, the results also highlight the need for randomized double-blind trials of new and established drugs to reduce nonfasting triglycerides and remnant lipoprotein cholesterol, with the ultimate aim of reducing risk of cardiovascular disease and early death.
Lipids, lipoproteins, apolipoproteins, triglycerides, remnant lipoproteins, nonfasting, postprandial, cardiovascular disease
Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Herlev Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital, Herlev Ringvej 75, DK-2730 Herlev, Denmark.