Lipoprotein(a) is a complex consisting of a molecule of low density lipoprotein (LDL) which is bound to a molecule of apolipoprotein(a). Apo(a) shows a high degree of homology with plasminogen, the precursor of the fibrinolytic enzyme plasmin.
Lipoprotein(a) may interfere with clot lysis and may be deposited on the artery wall like LDL. Although lipoprotein(a) is similar to LDL-cholesterol in structure, circulating levels of lipoprotein(a) do not appear to be regulated by the same mechanisms as LDL-cholesterol. When present at high levels it is a major risk factor for the development of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease, independent of LDL-cholesterol levels.
The wide differences in lipoprotein(a) levels seen among individuals are largely due to hereditary factors and cannot be controlled by dietary or lifestyle changes. Nevertheless, the identification of individuals at risk can be useful in alerting them to the need to eliminate or control other high risk factors.
Manufacturer’s Reagent package insert, Architect Lipoprotein a, Biokit S.A. , Av Can Montcau 7 , Barcelona , Spain. July 2019.