Background: Elevated Lipoprotein(a) (Lp[a]) levels are associated with a broad range of atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases (CVD). The impact of high Lp(a) levels on human longevity is however controversial. Our objectives were to determine whether geneticallydetermined Lp(a) levels are associated with parental lifespan and to assess the association between measured and genetically-determined Lp(a) levels and long-term all-cause and cardiovascular mortality.
Methods:We determined the association between a genetic risk score of 26 single nucleotide polymorphisms weighted for their impact on Lp(a) levels (wGRS) and parental lifespan (at least one long-lived parent; father still alive and older than 90 or father's age of death ≥90 or mother still alive and older than 93 or mother's age of death ≥93) in 139,362 participants from the UK Biobank. A total of 17,686 participants were considered as having high parental lifespan. We also investigated the association between Lp(a) levels and all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in 18,720 participants from the EPIC-Norfolk study.
Results:In the UK Biobank, increases in the wGRS (weighted for a 50 mg/dL increase in Lp(a) levels) were inversely associated with a high parental lifespan (odds ratio=0.92, 95% confidence interval [CI]=0.89-0.94, p=2.7x10 -8 ). During the 20-year follow-up of the EPIC-Norfolk study, 5686 participants died (2412 from CVD-related causes). Compared to participants with Lp(a) levels <50 mg/dL, those with Lp(a) levels ≥50 mg/dL had an increased hazard ratio (HR) for allcause (HR=1.17, 95% CI=1.08-1.27) and cardiovascular (HR=1.54, 95% CI=1.37-1.72) mortality. Compared to individuals with Lp(a) levels below the 50 th percentile of the Lp(a) distribution (in whom event rates were 29.8% and 11.3%, respectively for all-cause and cardiovascular mortality), those with Lp(a) levels equal or above the 95 th percentile of the population distribution (≥70 mg/dL) had HRs of 1.22 (95% CI=1.09-1.37, event rate 37.5%) and 1.71 (95% CI=1.46-2.00, event rate 20.0%), for all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality, respectively.
Conclusions:Results of this study suggest a potentially causal effect of Lp(a) on human longevity, support the use of parental lifespan as a tool to study the genetic determinants of human longevity, and provide a rationale for a trial of Lp(a)-lowering therapy in individuals with high Lp(a) levels.