The effects of apolipoprotein E (apo E) polymorphism on the distribution of serum levels of total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG), high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) were studied in 546 unrelated Chinese in Taiwan. By isoelectric focusing and immunoblotting, three common alleles were demonstrated. The frequencies of the ε2, ε3 and ε4 alleles were 0.076, 0.875 and 0.049, respectively. The relative frequency of the ε3 allele was higher than that in Caucasians, whereas the frequency of ε4 was lower in the Chinese population. Individuals with apo E4 4 phenotype had the highest serum TC and LDL-C concentrations, while the lowest levels were associated with apo E2 2 phenotype. There was a trend for individuals carrying the ε2 allele to have a higher HDL-C level. No relationship between apo E phenotype and TG level was observed in this study. These data indicated that a given apo E allele acted in a relatively similar way in determining individual differences between Chinese and Caucasian populations in serum lipid and lipoprotein.
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