The causal contribution of apolipoprotein B (apoB) particles to coronary artery disease (CAD) is established. We examined whether this atherogenic contribution is better reflected by non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (non-HDL-C) or apoB particle concentration.
Method and results:
We performed Mendelian randomization (MR) analysis using 235 variants as genetic instruments; testing the relationship between their effects on the exposures, non-HDL-C and apoB, and on the outcome CAD using weighted regression. Variant effect estimates on the exposures came from the UK Biobank (N = 376 336) and on the outcome from a meta-analysis of five CAD datasets (187 451 cases and 793 315 controls). Subsequently, we carried out sensitivity and replication analyses.
In univariate MR analysis, both exposures associated with CAD (βnon-HDL-C = 0.40, P = 2.8 × 10−48 and βapoB = 0.38, P = 1.3 × 10−44). Adding effects on non-HDL-C into a model that already included those on apoB significantly improved the genetically predicted CAD effects (P = 3.9 × 10−5), while adding apoB into the model including non-HDL-C did not (P = 0.69). Thirty-five per cent (82/235) of the variants used as genetic instruments had discordant effects on the exposures, associating with non-HDL-C/apoB ratio at P
Many sequence variants have discordant effects on non-HDL-C and apoB. These variants allowed us to show that the causal mechanism underlying the relationship between apolipoprotein B particles and CAD is more associated with non-HDL-C than apoB particle concentration.
Bibliographical noteEpub ahead of print. Published online: 20 September 2022.
- Non-HDL cholesterol
- Coronary artery disease
- Mendelian randomization