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Open Access Original investigation

Novel unbiased equations to calculate triglyceride-rich lipoprotein cholesterol from routine non-fasting lipids

Michel P Hermans13*, Sylvie A Ahn2 and Michel F Rousseau2

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Endocrinology & Nutrition, Cliniques universitaires St-Luc and Institut de Recherche Expérimentale et Clinique (IREC), Université catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium

2 Division of Cardiology, Cliniques universitaires St-Luc and Pôle de Recherche Cardiovasculaire, Institut de Recherche Expérimentale et Clinique (IREC), Université catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium

3 DipNatSci DipEarthSci DipGeogEnv PGCert (SocSc), Endocrinology & Nutrition, UCL 54.74 Tour Claude Bernard +1, avenue Hippocrate 54, Brussels B-1200, Belgium

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Cardiovascular Diabetology 2014, 13:56  doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-56

Published: 10 March 2014



Non-fasting triglyceride-rich lipoproteins cholesterol (TRL-C) contributes to cardiovascular risk, in that it includes remnant cholesterol (RC). TRL-C is computed as total C - [LDL-C + HDL-C]. Such calculation applies only if LDL-C is directly measured, or obtained from a non-Friedewald’s formula, a method as yet never benchmarked against independent markers of TRL burden.


The Discriminant Ratio (DR) methodology was used in 120 type 2 diabetic patients in order: (i) to compute TRL-C from non-fasting lipids; (ii) to establish the performance of TRL-C and TRL-C/apoA-I (vs. TG-based markers) to grade TRLs and atherogenic dyslipidemia (AD); and (iii) to relate TRL-C with non-fasting TG.


Depending on apoB100 availability, TRL-C (mg/dL) can be derived from non-fasting lipids in two ways: (a) total cholesterol (TC) - [(0.0106 * TC - 0.0036 * TG + 0.017 * apoB100 - 0.27) * 38.6] - HDL-C; and (b) TC - [(0.0106 * TC - 0.0036 * TG + 0.017 * [0.65 * (TC - HDL-C) + 6.3] - 0.27) * 38.6] - HDL-C. Discrimination between log[TG] and TRL-C was similar (DR 0.94 and 0.84, respectively), whereas that of log[TG]/HDL-C was better than TRL-C/apoA-I (DR 1.01 vs. 0.65; p 0.0482). All Pearson’s correlations between pairs reached unity, allowing formulation of two unbiased equivalence equations: (a) TRL-C = 97.8 * log[TG] - 181.9; and (b) TRL-C/apoA-I = 8.15 * (log[TG]/HDL-C) - 0.18.


TRL-C and log[TG] are as effective and interchangeable for assessing remnant atherogenic particles. For grading TRL-AD, it is best to use log[TG]/HDL-C, inherently superior to TRL-C/apoA-I, while measuring the same underlying variable.

Remnant cholesterol; Triglycerides; Non-fasting; Chylomicrons; Lipoprotein; Diabetes; Atherogenic dyslipidemia