Hypertriglyceridemia and cardiovascular risk: a cautionary note about metabolic confounding

Allan D. Sniderman, Patrick Couture, Seth S. Martin, Jacqueline DeGraaf, Patrick R. Lawler, William C. Cromwell, John T. Wilkins, George Thanassoulis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Triglycerides are the conventional tool to measure VLDLs, whereas LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) is the conventional tool to measure LDLs. Multiple epidemiological studies, including a series of genetically based analyses, have demonstrated that cardiovascular risk is related to triglycerides independently of LDL-C, and this has led to a series of new therapeutic agents designed specifically to reduce plasma triglycerides. The triglyceride hypothesis posits that increased levels of triglycerides increase cardiovascular risk and decreasing plasma triglycerides decreases cardiovascular risk. In this work, we will examine the validity of the triglyceride hypothesis by detailing the biological complexities associated with hypertriglyceridemia, the genetic epidemiological evidence in favor of hypertriglyceridemia, the evidence from the fibrate randomized clinical trials relating triglycerides and clinical outcomes, and the completeness of the evidence from the initial studies of novel mutations and the therapeutic agents based on these mutations that lower triglycerides. Because of the multiple metabolic links between VLDL and LDL, we will try to demonstrate that measuring triglycerides and LDL-C alone are inadequate to document the lipoprotein profile. We will try to demonstrate that apoB must be measured, as well as triglycerides and cholesterol, to have an accurate estimate of lipoprotein status.—Sniderman, A. D., P. Couture, S. S. Martin, J. DeGraaf, P. R. Lawler, W. C. Cromwell, J. T. Wilkins, and G. Thanassoulis. Hypertriglyceridemia and cardiovascular risk: a cautionary note about metabolic confounding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1266-1275
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Lipid Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2018


  • Angiopoietin-like 3 protein
  • Apolipoprotein B
  • Apolipoprotein CIII
  • Apolipoprotein CIII inhibitor
  • Low density lipoprotein
  • Triglycerides
  • Very low density lipoprotein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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