Research in Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that minimally oxidized lipoproteins are most likely to be involved in atherosclerotic plaque.

Researchers discovered that people with high oxidation levels of LDL are more likely to develop metabolic syndrome. “If LDL particles are severely damaged, the body recognizes them and excretes them,” says first author of the paper, Paul Holvoet, Ph.D., of Katholieke Universiteit. “But minimal oxidation is not as easily recognized.

“The test we devised identifies minimally oxidized LDL particles, which we theorized were the ones that are most likely to be incorporated into atherosclerotic plaque and cause health problems. The finding that oxidized LDL relates particularly to metabolic syndrome advances our understanding of how the atherosclerotic process works.”

The investigators measured oxidized LDL in more than 2,000 generally healthy people in an ongoing study called CARDIA. The omitted those with metabolic syndrome and followed the remaining 1,889 for five years. Those with the highest levels of oxidized LDL had 3.5 times the risk of developing metabolic syndrome five years later.

The research team involved scientists from the Katholieke Universiteit, University of Minnesota,  Kyungpook National University, and University of Oslo. The findings were published May 21 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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