Genetic control of apolipoprotein A-I distribution among HDL subclasses

David L. Rainwater, John Blangero, Perry H. Moore, Wendy R. Shelledy, Thomas D. Dyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We conducted genetic analyses to determine the components of variation for size distributions of apolipoprotein (apo) A-I among human plasma lipoproteins resolved on the basis of size. Analyses used data for 717 individuals in 26 pedigrees. Apo A-I distributions among lipoprotein size classes were measured by nondenaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (GGE) and immunoblotting procedures. Curves were fitted to apo A-I absorbance profiles to estimate fractional absorbance in each of five high-density lipoprotein (HDL) subclasses. Multivariate regression analyses revealed several covariates (sex, age, diabetes, and apo A-I concentrations) that were significantly associated with variation in one or more HDL subclasses. Female gender and elevated apo A-I concentrations were associated with increases in proportion of apo A-I in larger HDLs, while increasing age and diabetes were associated with decreases. The analyses showed significant heritabilities, h2, for each variable representing the different HDL subclasses. Both genetic and nongenetic effects on apo A-I size distributions were generally exerted across the range of lipoprotein sizes, as suggested by high genetic and environmental correlations between HDL subclass variables. Decomposition of total overall variance showed that unidentified environmental factors accounted for 48% of variation in apo A-I size distribution, while genetic factors explained about 36% and the identified covariates explained the remaining 16%. When considered separately, apo A-I concentration explained only 5% of the total variation in apo A-I size distribution, indicating that apo A-I concentration is a poor predictor of apo A-I size distribution. In summary, the data suggest that there are significant genetic and environmental effects on apo A-I size distribution in humans, and that they are general metabolic effects rather than effects on specific HDL subclasses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-317
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Apolipoprotein A-I
  • Diabetes
  • Genetics
  • Gradient gel electrophoresis
  • High density lipoprotein subclasses
  • Humans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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