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Atherosclerosis. 1995 Mar;113(2):273-87.

Fasting and postprandial determinants for the occurrence of small dense LDL species in non-insulin-dependent diabetic patients with and without hypertriglyceridaemia: the involvement of insulin, insulin precursor species and insulin resistance.

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Department of Medicine, University College London Medical School, Sir Jules Thorn Institute, Middlesex Hospital, UK.


We have studied low density lipoprotein (LDL) subclass distribution in a group of male patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) and investigated its relationships to fasting and postprandial triglyceride (TG)-rich lipoproteins, insulin resistance, lipoprotein lipase (EC; LPL), hepatic lipase (EC; HL), lecithin:cholesterol acyl transferase (EC; LCAT) and cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) activities. LDL was subfractionated by density gradient ultracentrifugation. Postprandial lipoproteins were measured after an oral fat load using retinyl palmitate as a marker for intestinal TG-rich lipoproteins. Hypertriglyceridaemic NIDDMs (HTG) had a preponderance of small dense LDL particles present in the plasma and reduced amounts of large buoyant species when compared to normotriglyceridaemic patients (NTG) and controls. Both groups of diabetics were more insulin resistant than the controls (P < 0.05) and had raised concentrations of proinsulin (P < 0.05), although insulin content did not differ significantly. 32-33 split proinsulin (SPI) was the major insulin-like molecule present in HTG and was present in significantly higher amounts in these patients (P < 0.05) than either NTG or control subjects and correlated significantly with the presence of small dense LDL particles. After a test meal, the postprandial chylomicron response was greater in HTG than either NTG diabetics or controls (P < 0.05). Chylomicron remnants were present to a greater extent in HTG than in NTG and controls (P < 0.05), although in this case NTG also contained more chylomicron remnants than control subjects (P < 0.05). There was no difference in the LPL activity, CETP and LCAT between diabetics and controls, whereas an increase in hepatic lipase activity was seen in the HTG diabetics (P < 0.05). Both CETP and LCAT activities increased postprandially. Multivariate analysis showed that TG, HDL content and HL activity were the most important determinants of small dense LDL concentration in the fasting state (R2 = 67%). Postprandially, chylomicron remnant clearance, HL and insulin resistance were the major determinants (R2 = 61%) of LDL-III.

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