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Apolipoprotein CII

Definition

Apolipoprotein CII (apoCII) is a protein found in large fat particles that the gastrointestinal tract absorbs. It is also found in very low density lipoprotein (VLDL), which is made up of mostly triglycerides (a type of fat in your blood).

This article discusses the test used to check for apoCII in a sample of your blood.

Alternative Names

ApoCII; Apoprotein CII; ApoC2

How the Test is Performed

A blood sample is needed.

How to Prepare for the Test

You may be told not to eat or drink anything for 4 - 6 hours before the test.

How the Test will Feel

When the needle is inserted to draw blood, you may feel some pain, or only a prick or stinging. Afterward, there may be some throbbing where the needle was inserted.

Why the Test is Performed

ApoCII measurements can help determine the type or cause of high blood cholesterol. It is not clear whether the test results improve treatment. Because of this, most health insurance companies will not pay for the test. If you do not have high cholesterol or heart disease, this test may not be recommended for you.

Normal Results

The normal range is 3 - 5 mg/dL. However, apoCII results are usually reported as present or absent.

The examples above are common measurements for results of these tests. Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

What Abnormal Results Mean

High levels of apoCII may be due to:

Low apoCII levels are seen in people with a rare condition called familial apoprotein CII deficiency. This causes chylomicronemia syndrome, another condition in which the body does not break down fats normally.

Risks

Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.

Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fainting or feeling light-headed
  • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)

Considerations

Apolipoprotein measurements may provide more detail about your risk for heart disease, but the added value of this test beyond a lipid panel is unknown.

References

Genest J, Libby P. Lipoprotein disorders and cardiovascular disease. In: Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 47.

Robinson JG. What is the role of advanced lipoprotein analysis in practice? J Am Coll Cardiol. 2012;60:2607-2615.

Semenkovich, CF. Disorders of lipid metabolism. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 213.

Review Date:5/20/2014
Reviewed By:Larry A. Weinrauch, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Cardiovascular Disease and Clinical Outcomes Research, Watertown, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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