Association between traditional cholesterol parameters, lipoprotein particle concentration, novel biomarkers and carotid plaques in retired national football league players

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Objectives: We assessed whether low-density lipoprotein particle concentration (LDL-P) and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein [hs-CRP] can identify subclinical atherosclerosis better than traditional cholesterol parameters in retired National Football League (NFL) players.
Background: It is not known whether LDL-P and the biomarker hs-CRP can identify subclinical atherosclerosis better than low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) or non-high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol (non-HDL-C) in retired NFL players, given high prevalence of metabolic syndrome in these players.
Methods: Carotid artery plaque screening was performed with traditional lipids, LDL-P, and hs-CRP in 996 retired players. Logistic regression analyses comparing highest with the lowest quartile were performed.
Results: Carotid artery plaques were seen in 41%. LDL-C (odds ratio [OR] 1.66, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.06-2.59), non-HDL-C (OR 1.67, 95% CI 1.04-2.67), and LDL-P (OR 2.21, 95% CI 1.35-3.62) were associated with plaques in adjusted models. Among 187 retired players with metabolic syndrome, LDL-C (OR 1.40, 95% CI 0.53-3.72) was not associated with carotid plaques, whereas LDL-P (OR 3.71, 95% CI 1.16-11.84) and non-HDL-C (OR 2.63, 95% CI 0.91-7.63, p=0.07; borderline significant) were associated with carotid plaques. hs-CRP (OR 1.13, 95% CI 0.71-1.79) was not associated with carotid plaques.
Conclusion: Carotid artery plaques were common in retired NFL players and were strongly associated with LDL-P, especially among those with metabolic syndrome. hs-CRP was not associated with carotid plaques in this cohort.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

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