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Dyslipidemias and leukocytosis are associated with cardiovascular disease and immune disorders. Mechanistic studies have shown lipoprotein metabolism to play a significant role in the regulation of atherosclerosis development and leukocyte activation, whereas lipid-lowering treatments have been shown to exert beneficial anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects in clinical trials. However, the relationship between clinical markers of lipid metabolism and leukocyte counts has not been extensively evaluated at the population level. We aimed to determine whether clinical blood lipid measures are associated with leukocyte counts in the general U.S. population represented in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999–2004, and whether differences exist between men and women (n = 5647). We observed a strong positive linear trend between serum triglycerides vs. blood lymphocyte and basophil counts in both men and women, whereas a positive trend between monocytes vs. triglycerides and lymphocytes vs. total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) was only detected in women. Conversely, HDL-C was inversely associated with a greater number of leukocyte subsets in men, whereas inverse trends between HDL-C vs. lymphocytes were observed in both men and women. In multiple regression models, a 10% increase in total cholesterol, LDL-C, and triglycerides was associated with a predicted 1.6%, 0.6%, and 1.4% increase in blood lymphocyte counts in women, respectively, whereas no relationship was observed in men. In both men and women, a 10% increase in triglycerides was additionally associated with higher lymphocyte, neutrophil, and basophil counts, whereas 10% increases in HDL-cholesterol were associated with significantly lower lymphocyte, neutrophil, eosinophil, and basophil counts in men, in addition to lower lymphocyte and monocyte counts in women. These findings suggest that clinical lipid markers may be used to predict blood leukocyte distributions, and that a gender-specific relationship exists between distinct classes of serum lipids and immune cell subsets.


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Journal of Clinical Medicine

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Andersen, C. J., & Vance, T. M. (2019). Gender Dictates the Relationship between Serum Lipids and Leukocyte Counts in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999–2004. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 8(3), 365.



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