What is apolipoprotein B (apoB)?

Updated: Jul 08, 2021
  • Author: Georges Elhomsy, MD, ECNU, FACE; Chief Editor: Eric B Staros, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

Apolipoprotein B (apoB) is a structural protein that constitutes a major component of the very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), the intermediate-density lipoprotein (IDL), and the low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Each of these lipoprotein particles carries one apoB molecule; as a result, the total serum apoB level corresponds to the total number of VLDL, IDL, and LDL particles.

Because VLDL, IDL, and LDL are considered atherogenic, the apoB level should reflect the atherogenic potential of these lipoproteins.

Cardiovascular risk is associated more with the number and size of circulating atherogenic particles than with the concentration of cholesterol in these particles. ApoB is not equivalent to non-LDL-C, because the latter reflects the cholesterol content of all atherogenic lipoproteins rather than the total number of circulating atherogenic particles.

ApoB plays a central role in carrying cholesterol and triglycerides from the liver and gut to utilization and storage sites.


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