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Nutr Res Pract. 2010 Dec;4(6):492-8. doi: 10.4162/nrp.2010.4.6.492. Epub 2010 Dec 28.

Low HDL cholesterol is associated with increased atherogenic lipoproteins and insulin resistance in women classified with metabolic syndrome.

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  • 1Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut, 3624 Horsebarn Road Ext, Storrs, CT 06269, USA.


Both metabolic syndrome (MetS) and elevated LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) increase the risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). We hypothesized that low HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) would further increase CVD risk in women having both conditions. To assess this, we recruited 89 women with MetS (25-72 y) and LDL-C ≥ 2.6 mmol/L. To determine whether plasma HDL-C concentrations were associated with dietary components, circulating atherogenic particles, and other risk factors for CVD, we divided the subjects into two groups: high HDL-C (H-HDL) (≥ 1.3 mmol/L, n = 32) and low HDL-C (L-HDL) (< 1.3 mmol/L, n = 57). Plasma lipids, insulin, adiponectin, apolipoproteins, oxidized LDL, Lipoprotein(a), and lipoprotein size and subfractions were measured, and 3-d dietary records were used to assess macronutrient intake. Women with L-HDL had higher sugar intake and glycemic load (P < 0.05), higher plasma insulin (P < 0.01), lower adiponectin (P < 0.05), and higher numbers of atherogenic lipoproteins such as large VLDL (P < 0.01) and small LDL (P < 0.001) than the H-HDL group. Women with L-HDL also had larger VLDL and both smaller LDL and HDL particle diameters (P < 0.001). HDL-C was positively correlated with LDL size (r = 0.691, P < 0.0001) and HDL size (r = 0.606, P < 0.001), and inversely correlated with VLDL size (r = -0.327, P < 0.01). We concluded that L-HDL could be used as a marker for increased numbers of circulating atherogenic lipoproteins as well as increased insulin resistance in women who are already at risk for CVD.


Metabolic syndrome, atherogenic lipoproteins, heart disease risk, insulin resistance, low HDL cholesterol

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