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|Objective:||To investigate whether higher levels of plasma TG and remnant cholesterol are observationally and genetically associated with increased risk of aortic valve stenosis.|
|Study design:||Mendelian randomization study|
|Study population:||This study used data from 108,559 individuals from the Copenhagen General Population Study.|
|Study outcome:||The primary outcome was incident aortic valve stenosis. Individuals with known congenital aortic valve malformation were excluded.|
|Methods:||Plasma TG, remnant cholesterol (total cholesterol minus low-density lipoprotein [LDL] and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol) were determined. Sixteen variants of the ANGPTL3, ANGPTL4, APOA5, APOC3, LPL and TRIB1 genes causing increased or decreased levels of plasma TG and remnant cholesterol were used to create an allele score. Observational associations of TG and remnant cholesterol with aortic valve stenosis were calculated using Cox proportional hazards regression adjusted for age and sex or multifactorially for age, sex, smoking status, pack-years smoked, systolic blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, lipoprotein(a), and years of education. TG were categorized into six groups of 1 mmol/L change:<1.0 mmol/L (<89 mg/dL), 1.0–1.9 mmol/L (89–176 mg/dL), 2.0–2.9 mmol/L (177–265 mg/dL), 3.0–3.9 mmol/L (266–353 mg/dL), 4.0–4.9 mmol/L (354–442 mg/dL), and ≥5.0 mmol/L (≥443 mg/dL). Remnant cholesterol was categorized into five groups of 0.5 mmol/L change: <0.5 mmol/L (<19 mg/dL), 0.5–0.9 mmol/L (19–38 mg/dL), 1.0–1.4 mmol/L (39–57 mg/dL), 1.5–1.9 mmol/L (58– 76 mg/dL), and ≥2.0 mmol/L(≥77 mg/dL). Genetic allele score associations were calculated by logistic regression with age and sex as covariates. Instrumental variable analysis with allele score as the instrumental variable was performed to quantify a causal effect.|
|Conclusion:||Higher TG and remnant cholesterol were observationally and genetically associated with increased risk of aortic valve stenosis.|
Aortic valve stenosis is increasingly common as the population ages, affecting up to 10% of 80-year olds. Once symptomatic, treatment options are limited, and prognosis is poor. Therefore, understanding the risk factors for aortic valve stenosis is critical to improving management strategies. Although these risk factors may be similar to those implicated in other vascular diseases, randomized trials of treatments to lower LDL cholesterol showed minimal impact on disease progression (2-4).
With recognition of the causal role of TG-rich remnant lipoproteins in atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (5,6), it is possible that these lipoproteins may also be implicated in aortic valve stenosis. This question was addressed in the current study. The investigators used a Mendelian randomization approach using data from the Copenhagen General Population Study to test for an association of remnant lipoproteins with aortic valve stenosis. They showed that higher plasma TG and remnant cholesterol were observationally and genetically associated with a higher risk of aortic valve stenosis, implying a potential role for elevated TG-rich remnant lipoproteins in the evolution of this cardiovascular disease. The study does not provide insights into the underlying mechanisms, although these are likely to include facilitation of inflammation, as has been shown in atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (7).
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of Lipid lowering with rosuvastatin on progression of aortic stenosis: results of the aortic stenosis progression observation: measuring effects of rosuvastatin (ASTRONOMER) trial. Circulation 2010;121:306–14.
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7. Varbo A, Benn M, Tybjærg-Hansen A, Nordestgaard BG. Elevated remnant cholesterol causes both low-grade inflammation and ischemic heart disease, whereas elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol causes ischemic heart disease without inflammation. Circulation 2013;128:1298–309.