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  • Author: Leszek Pączek x
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Detection of lipoprotein X (LPX) – a challenge in patients with severe hypercholesterolaemia

Summary

Background

Lipoprotein X (LpX) is an abnormal lipoprotein fraction, which can be detected in patients with severe hypercholesterolaemia and cholestatic liver disease. LpX is composed largely of phospholipid and free cholesterol, with small amounts of triglyceride, cholesteryl ester and protein. There are no widely available methods for direct measurement of LpX in routine laboratory practice. We present the heterogeneity of clinical and laboratory manifestations of the presence of LpX, a phenomenon which hinders LpX detection.

Methods

The study was conducted on a 26-year-old female after liver transplantation (LTx) with severely elevated total cholesterol (TC) of 38 mmol/L and increased cholestatic liver enzymes. TC, free cholesterol (FC), cholesteryl esters (CE), triglycerides, phospholipids, HDL-C, LDL-C, and apolipoproteins AI and B were measured. TC/apoB and FC:CE ratios were calculated. Lipoprotein electrophoresis was performed using a commercially available kit and laboratory-prepared agarose gel.

Results

Commercially available electrophoresis failed to demonstrate the presence of LpX. Laboratory-prepared gel clearly revealed the presence of lipoproteins with γ mobility, characteristic of LpX. The TC/apoB ratio was elevated and the CE level was reduced, confirming the presence of LpX. Regular lipoprotein apheresis was applied as the method of choice in LpX disease and a bridge to reLTx due to chronic liver insufficiency.

Conclusions

The detection of LpX is crucial as it may influence the method of treatment. As routinely available biochemical laboratory tests do not always indicate the presence of LpX, in severe hypercholesterolaemia with cholestasis, any discrepancy between electrophoresis and biochemical tests should raise suspicions of LpX disease.

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