From the Journals

HDL-P subfractions may be prognostic in heart failure

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Findings could spur treatment studies

Although the study by Dr. Hunter and colleagues confirms the role of HDL cholesterol and HDL-P subfractions in heart failure, the immediate clinical implications of their findings are uncertain.

Dr. Carl J. Lavie

Dr. Carl J. Lavie

Based on the findings, HDL-P might have use as a biomarker in stages of heart failure.

However, clinical use as a biomarker remains a “distant vision,” in part because a useful biomarker must be proven to provide an incremental benefit in terms of reducing disease-associated morbidity or mortality.

Even so, the present study could begin to inform future therapeutic studies looking at increasing specific HDL-P subfractions, rather than increasing HDL cholesterol across the board.

“Perhaps, this study will possibly serve to spur investigation into therapies designed to reduce derangements of [HDL cholesterol] metabolism and primarily target HDL-P as a regulator molecule, a promise that may keep the HDL story alive into the near future of scientific excursion.”

These comments were taken from an accompanying editorial by Hector O. Ventura, MD, and Carl J. Lavie, MD, of the University of Queensland Ochsner Clinical School, Brisbane, Australia, and New Orleans; and Mandeep R. Mehra, MD, of the Center of Advanced Heart Disease, Harvard University, Boston (J Am Coll Cardiol 2019 Jan 22;73[2]:187-9). Dr. Mehra reported that he is a consultant for Abbott, Medtronic, nupulseCV, Portola, Bayer, and FineHeart.



In heart failure, derangements in HDL cholesterol particle (HDL-P) subfractions have prognostic implications beyond those of conventional cardiovascular risk factors, according to investigators who analyzed plasma samples from more than 6,500 patients.

Dr. Wynn G. Hunter

The study revealed derangements that were shared and more severe in heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) as compared to heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), according to the researchers, who said their study is the largest to date of HDL-P subfractions in heart failure.

Both total HDL-P and small HDL-P had a strong inverse association with adverse outcomes, consistent with the conclusions of previous studies, they said in a report on their study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

“Altogether, our findings support total and small HDL-P as important markers of residual risk in both HFrEF and HFpEF,” said the investigators, led by Wynn G. Hunter, MD, of Duke University, Durham, N.C.

Dr. Hunter and colleagues used the CATHGEN (Catheterization Genetics) biorepository to identify plasma samples obtained at catheterization for 782 patients with HFrEF, 1,004 with HFpEF, and 4,742 with no heart failure.

Lipoprotein profiling of the samples revealed that mean HDL-P size was greater in HFrEF than in HFpEF, and in both of those cases, mean HDL-P size was greater than in patients with no heart failure (P less than .0001), investigators reported.

Concentrations of small HDL-P and total HDL-P were by contrast lower in HFrEF versus HFpEF, and again, the values for both HFrEF and HFpEF were lower than in patients without heart failure (P less than .0001), they added.

Small HDL-P and total HDL-P had an inverse association with time to adverse events and all-cause mortality for both the HFrEF and HFpEF groups, according to investigators, who said those links remained robust even after multivariate adjustment for 14 cardiovascular risk factors, including diabetes, LDL particle, and GlycA, a marker of inflammation.

For example, small HDL-P and total HDL-P were inversely associated with all-cause mortality risk, with adjusted hazard ratios of 0.69-0.79 (P less than .0001), they reported. Similarly, a greater mean HDL-P size was associated with increased risk of all-cause mortality, yielding adjusted hazard ratios of 1.23-1.46 (P less than .0001).

Further studies are needed to clarify the role of HDL-P in the pathophysiology of heart failure, and to identify treatments that might increase total and small HDL-P in heart failure patients, Dr. Hunter and coauthors concluded.

Dr. Hunter reported no disclosures related to the study. Coauthors provided disclosures related to Amgen, Ostuka, Roche Diagnostics, Novartis, Trevena, Singulex, Medtronic, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Janssen, Portola, Boston Scientific, Gilead, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Alnylam, Ikaria Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer, Philips, LipoScience, and Pfizer, among others.

SOURCE: Hunter WG et al. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2019 Jan 22;73(2):177-86.

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