Oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) exhibits various biological activities and accumulates in atheromas. LOX-1 (lectin-like oxidized LDL receptor) is the receptor that mediates oxidized LDL activity in vascular endothelial cells. Activation of LOX-1 results in oxidized LDL-induced endothelial dysfunction and hyperlipidemia-induced vascular lipid deposition. We hypothesized that LOX-1 is a candidate risk factor beyond LDL cholesterol (LDLC) and developed a novel assay to quantify LOX-1 ligand containing apoB (LAB). In men from the United States, serum LAB showed a significant positive association with carotid intima-media thickness, independent of LDLC. LAB and the LOX index (obtained by multiplying LAB by sLOX-1) were significantly associated with the incidence of coronary artery disease and ischemic stroke after adjusting for confounding factors, including non-HDL cholesterol. sLOX-1 is thought to be a better biomarker for early diagnosis of acute coronary syndrome than traditional biomarkers, including troponin T. LAB was associated with various atherosclerotic risk factors such as smoking, obesity, diabetes, diastolic hypertension, hypertriglyceridemia, and metabolic syndrome. Measurement of the soluble form of LOX-1 (sLOX-1) and LAB seems to be useful for evaluating the state and risk of atherosclerosis and atherosclerosis-related diseases. Further prospective studies using large populations and randomized clinical trials on sLOX-1, LAB, and the LOX index are needed.
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