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Apolipoprotein A-I 

  • Author: Georges Elhomsy, MD; Chief Editor: Eric B Staros, MD  more...
Updated: Nov 21, 2014

Reference Range

Apolipoprotein A-I (Apo-A1) is a structural and functional protein that constitutes approximately 70% of the protein in high density lipoprotein (HDL).

The reference range of Apo-A1 varies by sex, as follows:

  • Men: Greater than 120 mg/dL (1.2 g/L)
  • Women: Greater than 140 mg/dL (1.4 g/L)

levels decrease with age.



Low apolipoprotein A-I level

A low Apo-A1 level indicates an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, especially in the presence of an elevated apolipoprotein B (Apo-B) level.[1, 2, 3, 4]

Other factors that are associated with low Apo A1 level include the following:

High apolipoprotein A-I level

High Apo-A1 levels are associated with the following:

  • Pregnancy
  • Alcohol use
  • Spring and summer seasons[5]

Collection and Panels

Patient instructions: Overnight fasting (12-14 hours)

Collection tube: Lavender top (EDTA)

Unacceptable conditions: Hemolyzed specimens

Specimen preparation: Separate serum from cells as soon as possible or within 2 hours of collection and transfer to 1-mL serum transport tube

Storage/transport temperature: Refrigerated

Stability refrigerated: 8 days unfrozen; 3 months frozen

Panels: None

CPT Code: 82172




Apolipoprotein A-I (Apo-A1) is a structural and functional protein that constitutes approximately 70% of the protein in HDL.

Apo-A1 is produced in the liver and intestines and activates lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) in the peripheral tissues, which transforms free cholesterol to cholesterol ester and facilitates its transportation to the liver, were it is degraded.


Because it is not clear whether Apo-A1 is an independent predictor of cardiovascular disease, it may be useful to be measured in conjunction with Apo-B to assess the Apo-B/Apo-A1 ratio.

A higher ratio means an increased likelihood of cholesterol deposition in arteries, leading to atherosclerosis and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Apo-A1 is one of many serum markers used in the fibroTest, a noninvasive assessment of the liver that was validated in many liver disease, including hepatitis C, hepatitis B, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and alcoholic liver disease.


Serum Apo-A1 is not considered a routine test for cardiovascular disease risk assessment.

Overnight fasting might not be necessary to evaluate apo-A1, but most of the laboratories still commend it.

Apo-A1 Milano is a naturally occurring mutant of Apo-A1 associated with a very low HDL level but apparent longevity and much less atherosclerosis than expected for their HDL-C levels.[6]

A defect in the Apo-A1 gene (APOA1) can cause HDL deficiency and systemic nonneuropathic amyloidosis.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Georges Elhomsy, MD Fellow in Endocrinology, St Louis University School of Medicine

Georges Elhomsy, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, American Thyroid Association, Endocrine Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


George T Griffing, MD Professor Emeritus of Medicine, St Louis University School of Medicine

George T Griffing, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for the Advancement of Science, International Society for Clinical Densitometry, Southern Society for Clinical Investigation, American College of Medical Practice Executives, American Association for Physician Leadership, American College of Physicians, American Diabetes Association, American Federation for Medical Research, American Heart Association, Central Society for Clinical and Translational Research, Endocrine Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Eric B Staros, MD Associate Professor of Pathology, St Louis University School of Medicine; Director of Clinical Laboratories, Director of Cytopathology, Department of Pathology, St Louis University Hospital

Eric B Staros, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Medical Association, American Society for Clinical Pathology, College of American Pathologists, Association for Molecular Pathology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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