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Keywords:

  • apolipoprotein AI;
  • apolipoprotein B;
  • atherosclerosis;
  • brain infarction;
  • intracranial

Background and purpose

Pre-existing brain infarct (PBI), frequently seen on magnetic resonance imaging and usually silent, is recognized as a risk factor for future stroke. Increased apolipoprotein B (apoB)/apoAI ratio is known to be a risk predictor of ischaemic stroke and is associated with intracranial atherosclerotic stenosis (ICAS). However, little is known about the association of apoB/apoAI ratio with PBI.

Methods

A total of 522 statin-/fibrate-naïve Korean patients, who experienced acute ischaemic stroke, were categorized into three groups: ICAS (= 254), extracranial (= 51), and no cerebral atherosclerotic stenosis (= 217). We explored the association between apoB/apoAI ratio and PBI lesions according to atherosclerosis type (ICAS, ECAS, and NCAS), PBI location (deep subcortical [ds-PBI] versus hemispheric [h-PBI]), and symptomatic PBI (s-PBI) which was relevant to a prior clinical stroke event.

Results

Pre-existing brain infarct(+) patients showed a higher apoB/apoAI ratio than PBI(−) patients (0.81 ± 0.28 vs. 0.72 ± 0.23, < 0.001). In ICAS group, patients with higher apoB/apoAI ratio quartiles had more PBIs, ds-PBIs, and s-PBIs (= 0.020, = 0.025, and = 0.001, respectively). With multivariable analyses, the highest apoB/apoAI ratio quartile was associated with PBI (OR, 2.56; 95% CI, 1.39–4.73), ds-PBI (2.48; 1.33–4.62), and advanced (≥3) ds-PBIs (2.68; 1.27–5.63) in ICAS group, but not with h-PBI. s-PBI had a dose–response relationship with apoB/apoAI ratio quartiles (6.18; 1.31–29.13 for the second; 5.34; 1.06–26.83 for the third; and 12.17; 2.50–59.19 for the fourth quartile), when referenced to the first quartile.

Conclusion

ApoB/apoAI ratio is associated with asymptomatic deep subcortical ischaemic burden as well as with symptomatic lesion in patients with ICAS.