The 2022 Anitschkow Lecture

Featured Open Lecture: March & April 2023

This lecture was given by Professor Børge Nordestgaard, MD, DMSc as his Anitschkow Award lecture at the 90th EAS Congress in Milan Italy, in 2022.

Børge G. Nordestgaard is a Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at, the University of Copenhagen, and since 1999, Chief physician, Clinical Biochemistry, at Herlev Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark. He obtained his medical degree in 1985 and subsequently undertook postgraduate studies at Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, and 2-year fellowships with Professor Donald Zilversmit at Cornell University in New York, and Professor Barry Lewis at St. Thomas’ Hospital, London University, UK. He was awarded his doctorate from the University of Copenhagen in 1990.

In his most important research contributions, Professor Nordestgaard utilized the strengths of large-scale prospective observational population studies, randomized intervention trials (JUPITER, PROMINENT, and HORIZON), and genetic epidemiology to investigate the association of biochemical and genetic biomarkers with human disease, especially cardiovascular disease. Collaborations with the Copenhagen City Heart Study, the Emerging Risk factor Collaboration, the JUPITER Trial, the UK Biobank, several large multinational consortia within cancer and pulmonary research, and several large cohorts of patients from the Copenhagen area including the entire Danish population via Statistics Denmark have been foundational to his studies. In 2003 he founded the Copenhagen General Population Study, which now includes more than 150,000 participants.

In the present lecture, Professor Nordestgaard presents his research on triglyceride-rich lipoproteins, including remnant lipoproteins, in the causal pathway of atherosclerosis. Professor Nordestgaard has shown that levels of non-fasting triglycerides above 5 mmol/L are associated with an increased risk of myocardial infarction, stroke, and all-cause mortality. Using a Mendelian randomization strategy, Professor Nordestgaard demonstrated the impact of genetic variants influencing the expression of key proteins involved in triglyceride metabolism on the associated risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. These findings have been pivotal to the consideration of lipid-lowering therapy for elevated triglycerides and remnant lipoprotein cholesterol to prevent cardiovascular disease, as well as the development of novel therapeutic agents for the management of elevated triglycerides.