Background Low-density lipoprotein particle (LDL-P) has recently been found to be a stronger predictor of cardiovascular disease (CVD) than LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C). Objectives Whether LDL-P is associated with subclinical atherosclerosis, independent of LDL-C, as well as other lipid measures has not been fully examined. We aimed to analyze LDL-P associations with measures of subclinical atherosclerosis. Methods We examined 870 Japanese men randomly selected from Kusatsu City, Shiga, Japan, aged 40–79 years from 2006–2008, free of clinical CVD and not using lipid-lowering medication. Cross-sectional associations of lipid measures with carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) and coronary artery calcification (CAC; >0 Agatston score) were examined. Results LDL-P was significantly positively associated with cIMT and maintained this association after adjustments for LDL-C and other lipid measures. Although these lipid measures were positively associated with cIMT, model adjustment for LDL-P removed any significant relationships. Higher LDL-P was associated with a significantly higher odds ratio of CAC and further adjustment for LDL-C did not affect this relationship. In contrast, the LDL-C association with CAC was no longer significant after adjustment for LDL-P. Other lipid measures attenuated associations of LDL-P with CAC. Likewise, associations of these measures with CAC were attenuated when model adjustments for LDL-P were made. Conclusions In a community-based sample of Japanese men, free of clinical CVD, LDL-P was a robust marker for subclinical atherosclerosis, independent of LDL-C and other lipid measures. Associations of LDL-C and other lipid measures with either cIMT or CAC were generally not independent of LDL-P.
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