How Pulmonary Function Relates to Lipoproteins

There is a positive association of measures of pulmonary function with lipoprotein a [Lp(a)] in older adults who live in a community setting, according to a recent study.

There is a positive association of measures of pulmonary function with lipoprotein a [Lp(a)] in older adults who live in a community setting, according to a recent study by Nikolaus Buchmann, MD, Research Group on Geriatrics at the Free University of Berlin, and colleagues. The results of their study were included in a paper published in PLOS ONE on September 30, 2015.

The researchers analyzed data from the profiles of 606 people included in the Berlin Aging Study II (BASE-II). They used baseline cross-sectional data from people between the ages of 60 and 84 years old, living in the greater Berlin metropolitan area. A slight majority of the participants, 55.1%, were female. The participants were given a pre-bronchodilator lung function test, and blood was drawn to perform Lp(a) analyses.

The spirometric measurements revealed a positive correlation between lung volume and LDL-cholesterol in women. However, “other lipid parameters, inflammation markers, smoking status, alcohol intake and lipid lowering medication did not differ significantly within the Lp(a) quintiles.” Since Lp(a) levels increase after menopause, the researchers were not surprised to find that Lp(a) values were significantly higher in women than in men.

When the researchers adjusted for age, BMI, and smoking status, they found positive associations of total cholesterol with lung volumes. According to the authors, “The main finding of the current study is the positive association of measures of pulmonary function, FEV1 and FVC, with Lp(a) in BASE-II participants.”

There is no clear or obvious explanation for the relationship between Lp(a) and lung function, but the researchers think it is possible that Lp(a) has an as yet unknown role in lung function that is negatively impacted by low Lp(a) levels. They suggest future longitudinal studies to confirm the results of their work, as well as to “provide insight into the physiological relationship between lung function and Lp(a).”