The influence of ApoE genotype on the lipid profile and lipoproteins during normal pregnancy in a Southern African population

Donald Moshen Tanyanyiwa*, Adrian David Marais, Pamela Byrnes, Sheena Jones

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Pregnancy is associated with increases in fasting triglycerides and total cholesterol.1 ApoE isoforms are known to influence the concentration of cholesterol, with apoE2 homozygosity lowering and apoE4 homozygosity raising the cholesterol concentration compared with E3 homozygosity.2 The lipid profiles ApoE status and prevalence of small dense LDL species were evaluated for subjects attending an antenatal clinic. Results: Samples from 690 women aged between 16 and 42 years of age were analyzed during and after pregnancy. The fasting plasma triglyceride concentration (in mmol/L) was significantly higher in pregnancy (median = 1.5, IQR 1.0-2.0 vs median = 0.6, IQR 0.5-0.8 respectively, p < 0.0001). Similarly, the total cholesterol (in mmol/L) was increased during pregnancy (median=4.1, IQR 3.6-4.7 vs median 3.5, IQR 3.1-3.5, respectively p=0.0167). The median LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol did not change. Higher proportions of small density LDL species were seen during pregnancy compared to after pregnancy. The distribution of the LDL species during pregnancy and 6 weeks post-partum were significantly different p<0.0001 with the smaller species being much higher during pregnancy. Conclusion: ApoE4 genotype was associated with increased total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol concentrations during pregnancy. Pregnancy results in a reversible remodeling of LDL to smaller species, the significance of which is unknown but may indicate a predisposition to atherosclerosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)853-859
Number of pages7
JournalAfrican Health Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • African
  • Apolipoprotein E. Lipids
  • Pregnancy
  • Small dense LDL species


Dive into the research topics of 'The influence of ApoE genotype on the lipid profile and lipoproteins during normal pregnancy in a Southern African population'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this