• children;
  • glycosylated hemoglobin;
  • lipoprotein (a);
  • type 1 diabetes

Abstract Background: Lipoprotein (a) (Lp (a)) is an independent risk factor for coronary artery disease (CAD), a major cause of death in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus. Both type 1 diabetes and CAD represent major problems in Kuwait. Data on the effect of metabolic control on Lp (a) in diabetic children are limited and this is particularly true for Arab children. The objectives of the present study were to analyze serum Lp (a) levels in patients with type 1 diabetes compared with non-diabetic children, taking into account the effect of glycemic control.

Methods: Circulating lipids, including Lp (a), were measured in serum samples from 60 prepubertal non-diabetic children and 58 prepubertal children with type 1 diabetes. Comparisons of Lp (a) concentrations were made between the non-diabetic and diabetic children with good to fair control (glycosylated hemoglobin (GHb) <11%) and a group of diabetic children with poor control (GHb ≥ 11%).

Results: The mean serum Lp (a) level in all diabetic children was 187.62+160.43 mg/L, compared with 162.88+156.06 mg/L in the control group. The group of children with poor glycemic control had higher median Lp (a) levels (147.50 mg/L) than either the group of diabetic children with good to fair control (95 mg/L; P<0.028) or the group of non-diabetic children (125 mg/L; P<0.04). Moreover, 38.3% of poorly controlled diabetic children had elevated Lp (a) levels ≥ 250 mg/L, compared with 12.5% of diabetic children with good to fair control and 16.7% of non-diabetic children (P<0.025 and P<0.039, respectively). No association was found between Lp (a), diabetes duration and insulin dose.

Conclusions: In Arab children, highest Lp (a) levels are associated with poorest metabolic control. The prevalence of Lp (a) levels associated with cardiovascular risk is higher in poorly controlled diabetic children. Increased levels of Lp (a) may be another contributing factor to the high risk for CAD in diabetic patients.