Apolipoproteins function as structural components of lipoprotein particles, cofactors for enzymes, and ligands for cell-surface receptors. Most of the apoliporoteins exhibit proteoforms, arising from single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and post-translational modifications such as glycosylation, oxidation, and sequence truncations. Reviewed here are recent studies correlating apolipoproteins proteoforms with the specific clinical measures of lipid metabolism and cardiometabolic risk. Targeted mass spectrometric immunoassays toward apolipoproteins A-I, A-II, and C-III were applied on large cross-sectional and longitudinal clinical cohorts. Several correlations were observed, including greater apolipoprotein A-I and A-II oxidation in patients with diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and a divergent apoC-III proteoforms association with plasma triglycerides, indicating significant differences in the metabolism of the individual apoC-III proteoforms. These are the first studies of their kind, correlating specific proteoforms with clinical measures in order to determine their utility as potential clinical biomarkers for disease diagnosis, risk stratification, and therapy decisions. Such studies provide the impetus for the further development and clinical translation of MS-based protein tests.
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