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      Lipoprotein heterogeneity in persons with Spinal Cord Injury: a model of prolonged sitting and restricted physical activity

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          Persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) often have low levels of physical activity, which predispose to increased adiposity and decreased high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) concentrations, and, generally, normal low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) concentrations. In spite of the mixed lipoprotein profile, the SCI population has been reported to have an elevated risk of cardiovascular-related morbidity and mortality. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy may permit a more precise quantification of lipoprotein particle (P) species, enabling a more accurate inference of risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the SCI population.


          Fasting blood samples were obtained on 83 persons with chronic SCI and 62 able-bodied (AB) subjects. Fasting plasma insulin (FPI), triglycerides (TG), and P number and size of VLDL (very low density lipoprotein), LDL, and HDL subclasses were determined. AB and SCI subjects were stratified based on HDL-C (i.e., Low <40 and Normal ≥40 mg/dl): AB-Normal (n = 48), AB-Low (n = 14), SCI-Normal (n = 49), and SCI-Low (n = 34). Factorial analyses of variance were performed to identify group differences in lipoprotein measurements. Pearson correlations were performed between the number of P by lipoprotein subclass, size, FPI, and TG.


          The SCI-Normal group was not significantly different from the AB-Normal group for body composition, FPI, TG or LP-IR and had negligible differences in the lipoprotein P profile, except for fewer number and smaller size of HDL-P. The SCI-Low group had a similar lipoprotein profile to that of the AB-Low group, but with a lipid P composition associated with a heightened atherogenic risk and greater tendency toward insulin resistance by the Lipoprotein-Insulin Resistance (LP-IR) score. In the SCI-Low group, the decreased number and reduced size of lipoprotein P were more prevalent and may be associated with increased waist circumference (i.e., abdominal adiposity), relatively elevated TG values (compared to the other subgroups), and an underlying subclinical state of insulin resistance.


          Prolonged sitting and restricted physical activity in individuals with SCI had the most profound effect on the HDL-C and its lipoprotein P subclasses, but not on LDL-C, however its P subclasses were also unfavorably affected but not to the same degree. The quantification of lipoprotein P characteristics may be a potent tool for the determination of risk for CVD in persons with SCI.

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          Most cited references 36

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          High-density lipoprotein cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. Four prospective American studies.

          The British Regional Heart Study (BRHS) reported in 1986 that much of the inverse relation of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDLC) and incidence of coronary heart disease was eliminated by covariance adjustment. Using the proportional hazards model and adjusting for age, blood pressure, smoking, body mass index, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, we analyzed this relation separately in the Framingham Heart Study (FHS), Lipid Research Clinics Prevalence Mortality Follow-up Study (LRCF) and Coronary Primary Prevention Trial (CPPT), and Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial (MRFIT). In CPPT and MRFIT (both randomized trials in middle-age high-risk men), only the control groups were analyzed. A 1-mg/dl (0.026 mM) increment in HDLC was associated with a significant coronary heart disease risk decrement of 2% in men (FHS, CPPT, and MRFIT) and 3% in women (FHS). In LRCF, where only fatal outcomes were documented, a 1-mg/dl increment in HDLC was associated with significant 3.7% (men) and 4.7% (women) decrements in cardiovascular disease mortality rates. The 95% confidence intervals for these decrements in coronary heart and cardiovascular disease risk in the four studies overlapped considerably, and all contained the range 1.9-2.9%. HDLC levels were essentially unrelated to non-cardiovascular disease mortality. When differences in analytic methodology were eliminated, a consistent inverse relation of HDLC levels and coronary heart disease event rates was apparent in BRHS as well as in the four American studies.
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            Effects of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes on lipoprotein subclass particle size and concentration determined by nuclear magnetic resonance.

            The insulin resistance syndrome (IRS) is associated with dyslipidemia and increased cardiovascular disease risk. A novel method for detailed analyses of lipoprotein subclass sizes and particle concentrations that uses nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) of whole sera has become available. To define the effects of insulin resistance, we measured dyslipidemia using both NMR lipoprotein subclass analysis and conventional lipid panel, and insulin sensitivity as the maximal glucose disposal rate (GDR) during hyperinsulinemic clamps in 56 insulin sensitive (IS; mean +/- SD: GDR 15.8 +/- 2.0 mg. kg(-1). min(-1), fasting blood glucose [FBG] 4.7 +/- 0.3 mmol/l, BMI 26 +/- 5), 46 insulin resistant (IR; GDR 10.2 +/- 1.9, FBG 4.9 +/- 0.5, BMI 29 +/- 5), and 46 untreated subjects with type 2 diabetes (GDR 7.4 +/- 2.8, FBG 10.8 +/- 3.7, BMI 30 +/- 5). In the group as a whole, regression analyses with GDR showed that progressive insulin resistance was associated with an increase in VLDL size (r = -0.40) and an increase in large VLDL particle concentrations (r = -0.42), a decrease in LDL size (r = 0.42) as a result of a marked increase in small LDL particles (r = -0.34) and reduced large LDL (r = 0.34), an overall increase in the number of LDL particles (r = -0.44), and a decrease in HDL size (r = 0.41) as a result of depletion of large HDL particles (r = 0.38) and a modest increase in small HDL (r = -0.21; all P < 0.01). These correlations were also evident when only normoglycemic individuals were included in the analyses (i.e., IS + IR but no diabetes), and persisted in multiple regression analyses adjusting for age, BMI, sex, and race. Discontinuous analyses were also performed. When compared with IS, the IR and diabetes subgroups exhibited a two- to threefold increase in large VLDL particle concentrations (no change in medium or small VLDL), which produced an increase in serum triglycerides; a decrease in LDL size as a result of an increase in small and a reduction in large LDL subclasses, plus an increase in overall LDL particle concentration, which together led to no difference (IS versus IR) or a minimal difference (IS versus diabetes) in LDL cholesterol; and a decrease in large cardioprotective HDL combined with an increase in the small HDL subclass such that there was no net significant difference in HDL cholesterol. We conclude that 1) insulin resistance had profound effects on lipoprotein size and subclass particle concentrations for VLDL, LDL, and HDL when measured by NMR; 2) in type 2 diabetes, the lipoprotein subclass alterations are moderately exacerbated but can be attributed primarily to the underlying insulin resistance; and 3) these insulin resistance-induced changes in the NMR lipoprotein subclass profile predictably increase risk of cardiovascular disease but were not fully apparent in the conventional lipid panel. It will be important to study whether NMR lipoprotein subclass parameters can be used to manage risk more effectively and prevent cardiovascular disease in patients with the IRS.
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              High-density lipoprotein cholesterol and particle concentrations, carotid atherosclerosis, and coronary events: MESA (multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis).

              The purpose of this study was to evaluate independent associations of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and particle (HDL-P) concentrations with carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) and incident coronary heart disease (CHD). HDL-C is inversely related to CHD, and also to triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein particles (LDL-P), and related metabolic risk. HDL-P associations with CHD may be partially independent of these factors. In a multiethnic study of 5,598 men and women ages 45 to 84 years old, without baseline CHD, excluding subjects on lipid-lowering medications, triglycerides >400 mg/dl, or missing values, we evaluated associations of HDL-C and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy-measured HDL-P with cIMT and incident CHD (myocardial infarction, CHD death, and angina, n = 227 events; mean 6.0 years follow-up). All models were adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, hypertension, and smoking. HDL-C and HDL-P correlated with each other (ρ = 0.69) and LDL-P (ρ = -0.38, -0.25, respectively, p < 0.05 for all). For (1 SD) higher HDL-C (15 mg/dl) or HDL-P (6.64 μmol/l), cIMT differences were - 26.1 (95% confidence interval [CI]: -34.7 to -17.4) μm and -30.1 (95% CI: -38.8 to - 21.4) μm, and CHD hazard ratios were 0.74 (95% CI: 0.63 to 0.88) and 0.70 (95% CI: 0.59 to 0.82), respectively. Adjusted for each other and LDL-P, HDL-C was no longer associated with cIMT (2.3; 95% CI: - 9.5 to 14.2 μm) or CHD (0.97; 95% CI: 0.77 to 1.22), but HDL-P remained independently associated with cIMT (-22.2; 95% CI: - 33.8 to -10.6 μm) and CHD (0.75; 95% CI: 0.61 to 0.93). Interactions by sex, ethnicity, diabetes, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein were not significant. Adjusting for each other and LDL-P substantially attenuated associations of HDL-C, but not HDL-P, with cIMT and CHD. Potential confounding by related lipids or lipoproteins should be carefully considered when evaluating HDL-related risk. Copyright © 2012 American College of Cardiology Foundation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

                Author and article information

                (718) 584 9000 ,
                Lipids Health Dis
                Lipids Health Dis
                Lipids in Health and Disease
                BioMed Central (London )
                28 July 2015
                28 July 2015
                : 14
                [ ]Department of Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research & Development Service National Center of Excellence for the Medical Consequences of Spinal Cord Injury, James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 130 West Kingsbridge Road, Bronx, NY 10468 USA
                [ ]Department of Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY USA
                [ ]The Institute for Advanced Study of Rehabilitation and Sports Science, School of Health and Medical Sciences, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ USA
                [ ]Department of Physical Therapy, School of Health and Medical Sciences, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ USA
                [ ]Department of Kinesiology, William Patterson University, Wayne, NJ USA
                [ ]Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, West Orange, NJ USA
                [ ]Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ USA
                [ ]SCI Medical Service, James J. Peters VA Medical Center, Bronx, NY USA
                [ ]Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY USA
                © La Fountaine et al. 2015

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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