To determine the influence of gestational age, gender, and race, on lipoprotein heterogeneity at birth.
Prospective study of representative sample of infants.
The Johns Hopkins Hospital.
163 infants (70 White and 93 Black) >28 weeks gestational age.
Lipids, lipoprotein subclasses, apolipoproteins, Lp (a) lipoprotein.
The number of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particles, large LDL subclass, and LDL cholesterol level, were all significantly higher in the younger infants. The large high-density lipoprotein (HDL) subclass was significantly higher, while the small HDL subclass was significantly lower in the younger infants. Female infants had a greater HDL size than did males (P=.03). There were no differences between the age groups for HDL cholesterol, very low-density lipoprotein subclasses, or levels of triglycerides, or apolipoproteins B and A-I. White infants had a notably higher mean (SD) level (nmol/L) of total LDL particles (476 ), compared to the Black infants (372 ) (P=.009). The Black infants had a significantly (P=.02) higher mean (SD) Lp (a) lipoprotein level (mg/dL), compared to the White infants, 2.8 (3.2) vs 1.7 (2.4). Black small-for-gestational age infants had significantly higher levels of very low and intermediate density lipoproteins and apolipoprotein B, compared to appropriate-for-gestational age infants.
Gestational age has a significant effect on both LDL and HDL subclasses. Differences in LDL particle number and Lp (a) between White and Black infants mirror those seen later in life.