Apolipoprotein CII

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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.

Video: Cholesterol and triglyceride test

Alternative Names

ApoCII; Apoprotein CII; ApoC2; Lipoprotein lipase deficiency - apolipoprotein CII; Chylomicronemia syndrome - apolipoprotein CII

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 to 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.

Blood test

Blood test

Why the Test is Performed

ApoCII measurements can help determine the type or cause of high blood fats. 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 or a family history of these conditions, this test may not be recommended for you.

Normal Results

The normal range is 3 to 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 a family history of lipoprotein lipase deficiency. This is a condition in which the body does not break down fats normally.

ApoCII levels are also 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

Risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fainting or feeling lightheaded
  • 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.

Images

Blood test

References

Chen X, Zhou L, Hussain MM. Lipids and dyslipoproteinemia. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 23rd ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2017:chap 17.

Genest J, Libby P. Lipoprotein disorders and cardiovascular disease. In: Zipes DP, Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Tomaselli GF, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 48.

Remaley AT, Dayspring TD, Warnick GR. Lipids, lipoproteins, apolipoproteins, and other cardiovascular risk factors. In: Rifai N, ed. Tietz Textbook of Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics. 6th ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2018:chap 34.

Robinson JG. Disorders of lipid metabolism. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 195.

Review Date: 
7/7/2020
Reviewed By: 
Thomas S. Metkus, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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