Measurement of single low-density lipoprotein particles by atomic force microscopy

Toshihiro Sakurai, Seiji Takeda, Jun Ya Takahashi, Yuji Takahashi, Norio Wada, Suchin Trirongjitmoah, Takeshi Namita, Shigeki Jin, Akiko Ikuta, Hiroaki Furumaki, Shu Ping Hui, Hirotoshi Fuda, Masato Fujikawa, Koichi Shimizu, Hitoshi Chiba*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The size of lipoprotein particles is relevant to the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD). Methods: We investigated the feasibility of atomic force microscopy (AFM) for evaluating the size of large low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and small dense LDL (sd-LDL) separated by ultracentrifugation. The measurements by AFM in tapping mode were compared to those by electron microscopy (EM). Results: There was a significant difference in particle sizes determined by AFM between large LDL (20.6±1.9 nm, mean SD) and sd-LDL (16.2±1.4 nm) obtained from six healthy volunteers (P < 0.05). The particle sizes determined by EM for the same samples were 23.2±1.4 nm for large LDL and 20.4±1.4 nm for sd-LDL. The difference between large LDL and sd-LDL detected by EM was also statistically significant (P < 0.05). In addition, the particle sizes of each lipoprotein fraction were significantly different between AFM and EM: P < 0.05 for large LDL and P < 0.05 for sd-LDL. Conclusions: AFM can differentiate between sd-LDL and large LDL particles by their size, and might be useful for evaluating risk for CAD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)564-570
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Clinical Biochemistry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Nov
Externally publishedYes


  • AFM
  • Electron microscopy
  • Large LDL
  • Small dense LDL

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry


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