Background: Atherosclerosis is a pro-inflammatory condition, in which leucocyte activation plays an important role. The interaction between circulating leucocytes and apolipoprotein (apo) B-containing lipoproteins results in pro-inflammatory changes of these cells. We aimed to evaluate the relationship between apo B bound to circulating leucocytes and atherosclerosis. Methods: Apo B on circulating leucocytes was measured by flow cytometry in subjects with and without cardiovascular disease (CVD), expressed as mean fluorescent intensity in arbitrary units (au). Carotid intima–media thickness (cIMT) was measured using B-mode ultrasound. Data are given as median (interquartile range). Results: A total of 396 subjects were included, of whom 183 had a history of CVD. Compared to subjects without CVD, patients with CVD had lower apo B bound to neutrophils (12·7 au (9·8–16·2) and 14·2 au (10·1–17·5), respectively, P = 0·038) and to monocytes (2·5 au (1·7–3·1) and 2·7 (1·9–3·6) au, respectively, P = 0·025). No differences were found for lymphocyte-bound apo B. Neutrophil- and monocyte-bound apo B were inversely correlated with cIMT (Spearman's rho: −0·123, P = 0·017 and −0·108, P = 0·035, respectively). Both monocyte- and neutrophil-bound apo B were inversely associated with different factors related to the metabolic syndrome, such as body mass index, triglycerides and complement C3. There was a positive association between erythrocyte-bound apo B and apo B bound to each of the leucocyte classes, possibly reflecting a similar mechanism. Discontinuation of statins in 54 subjects did not influence leucocyte-bound apo B. Conclusion: Unexpectedly, the presence of noninternalized apo B-containing lipoproteins on circulating neutrophil and monocyte membranes may represent a protective mechanism against atherosclerosis.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Coronary artery disease, inflammation, intima–media thickness, leucocyte activation, monocyte, neutrophil
Persistent URL,
Journal European Journal of Clinical Investigation
de Vries, M.A, Klop, B, van der Meulen, N, van de Geijn, G.J.M, Prinzen, L, van der Zwan, E, … Castro Cabezas, M. (2016). Leucocyte-bound apolipoprotein B in the circulation is inversely associated with the presence of clinical and subclinical atherosclerosis. European Journal of Clinical Investigation, 46(8), 690–697. doi:10.1111/eci.12650