High levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) (hypercholesterolemia) are commonly present in the nephrotic syndrome. Another pattern of dyslipidemia in nephrotic patients is an elevation of both cholesterol and triglyceride levels (combined hyperlipidemia). It has been postulated that the underlying cause of nephrotic dyslipidemia is an hepatic overproduction of apolipoprotein B (apo B)-containing lipoproteins. To examine this hypothesis, the metabolism of LDL-apo B was compared between nephrotic patients with hypercholesterolemia and with combined hyperlipidemia. Thirteen patients (7 with hypercholesterolemia, and 6 with combined hyperlipidemia) underwent measurements of turnover rates of autologous LDL apo B. The results were compared to normolipidemic controls and to patients with primary combined hyperlipidemia previously studied in our laboratory. Nephrotic patients with hypercholesterolemia generally had: (a) lower fractional catabolic rates of LDL apo B than normolipidemic healthy individuals; (b) LDL particles enriched in cholesterol; but (c) no overproduction of LDL apo B. In contrast, patients with combined hyperlipidemia were found to have: (a) high fractional catabolic rates for LDL apo B compared to normolipidemic controls; (b) cholesterol-poor LDL particles; and (c) markedly elevated production rates for LDL. Also, for the group as a wbole, there was a positive correlation between plasma triglyceride levels and fractional catabolic rates. These data indicate that the metabolism of LDL is strikingly different between the two forms of nephrotic dyslipidemia. Although there may be common mechanisms contributing to LDL levels in nephrotic patients, there also appears to be a divergence of mechanisms depending on whether hypertriglyceridemia is associated with hypercholesterolemia.
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