Lipoprotein(a) levels and atherosclerotic plaque characteristics in the carotid artery: The Plaque at RISK (PARISK) study

Dianne H. K. Van Dam-Nolen*, Anouk C. van Dijk, Genevieve A. J. C. Crombag, Carlo Lucci, M. Eline Kooi, Jeroen Hendrikse, Paul J. Nederkoorn, Mat J. A. P. Daemen, Antonius F. W. van der Steen, Peter J. Koudstaal, Florian Kronenberg, Jeanine E. Roeters van Lennep, Monique T. Mulder, Aad van der Lugt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background and aims: Lipoprotein(a) is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease and recurrent ischemic stroke. Lipoprotein(a) levels are known to be associated with carotid artery stenosis, but the relation of lipoprotein(a) levels to carotid atherosclerotic plaque composition and morphology is less known. We hypothesize that higher lipoprotein(a) levels and lipoprotein(a)-related SNPs are associated with a more vulnerable carotid plaque and that this effect is sex-specific.

Methods: In 182 patients of the Plaque At RISK study we determined lipoprotein(a) concentrations, apo(a) KIV-2 repeats and LPA SNPs. Imaging characteristics of carotid atherosclerosis were determined by MDCTA (n = 161) and/or MRI (n = 171). Regressions analyses were used to investigate sex-stratified associations between lipoprotein(a) levels, apo(a) KIV-2 repeats, and LPA SNPs and imaging characteristics.

Results: Lipoprotein(a) was associated with presence of lipid-rich necrotic core (LRNC) (aOR = 1.07, 95% CI: 1.00; 1.15), thin-or-ruptured fibrous cap (TRFC) (aOR = 1.07, 95% CI: 1.01; 1.14), and degree of stenosis (beta = 0.44, 95% CI: 0.00; 0.88). In women, lipoprotein(a) was associated with presence of intraplaque hemorrhage (IPH) (aOR = 1.25, 95% CI: 1.06; 1.61). In men, lipoprotein(a) was associated with degree of stenosis (beta = 0.58, 95% CI: 0.04; 1.12). Rs10455872 was significantly associated with increased calcification volume (beta = 1.07, 95% CI: 0.25; 1.89) and absence of plaque ulceration (aOR = 0.25, 95% CI: 0.04; 0.93). T3888P was associated with absence of LRNC (aOR = 0.36, 95% CI: 0.16; 0.78) and smaller maximum vessel wall area (beta = -10.24, 95%CI: -19.03; -1.44).

Conclusions: In patients with symptomatic carotid artery stenosis, increased lipoprotein(a) levels were associated with degree of stenosis, and IPH, LRNC, and TRFC, known as vulnerable plaque characteristics, in the carotid artery. T3888P was associated with lower LRNC prevalence and smaller maximum vessel wall area. Further research in larger study populations is needed to confirm these results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-29
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • LP(A)

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