Normal triglyceride levels despite insulin resistance in African Americans: Role of lipoprotein lipase

Anne E. Sumner, Gloria L. Vega, David J. Genovese, Karl B. Finley, Richard N. Bergman, Raymond C. Boston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations

Abstract

Lipoprotein lipase (LPL), the enzyme responsible for hydrolyzing triglyceride (TG) in plasma lipoproteins, is a key regulator of plasma TG levels. In Caucasians, postheparin-LPL (PH-LPL) activity is impaired in the presence of insulin resistance and leads to elevated TG levels. However, African Americans are often both insulin-resistant and normotriglyceridemic. But in African Americans, the effect of insulin resistance on PH-LPL activity has not been studied. In African Americans, if insulin resistance is not associated with a decrease in PH-LPL activity, this could account for the simultaneous presence of insulin resistance and normotriglyceridemia. Therefore, our goal was to determine in African Americans the relationship between insulin resistance and PH-LPL activity. In a cross-sectional study of 107 nondiabetic African Americans (57 men and 50 women; age mean ± SD, 35 ± 8 years, range 22-50 years; body mass index 31.6 ± 7.9 kg/m2, range 18.5-54.7 kg/m2), fasting TG levels and PH-LPL activity were determined. Visceral adipose tissue was measured by abdominal computed tomographic scan. Insulin resistance was determined by the insulin sensitivity index (S I). Subjects were divided into tertiles by SI. The range of SI in each tertile was 12.75 to 3.99, 3.87 to 2.20, 2.06 to 0.17 mU • L-1 • min-1. Insulin resistance was defined as being in the third tertile. TG levels in the men and women were 82.2 ± 35.5 versus 56.4 ± 30.1 mg/dL, P <. 001. There were no sex difference in PH-LPL activity (8.9 ± 2.5 vs 9.6 ± 3.2 mmol/h per liter, P =. 30) or SI (3.65 ± 2.59 vs 3.23 ± 1.89 L • mU-1 • min-1, P =. 49). Although 47% of the subjects were obese, only 4% of subjects had hypertriglyceridemia (TG ≥ 150 mg/dL). By 2 separate analyses, PH-LPL was a major determinant of TG levels. First, there was a significant inverse correlation between PH-LPL activity and TG levels (men: r = -0.46, P <. 001; women: r = -0.28, P =. 046). Second, in the multiple regression analysis with TG as the dependent variable and PH-LPL, age, sex, SI, and visceral adipose tissue as independent variables, adjusted R2 was 54% and the effect of PH-LPL on TG levels was highly significant(P <. 001). However, insulin resistance did not appear to influence PH-LPL activity. This is demonstrated in 3 ways: first, PH-LPL activity was not different in the SI tertiles (9.10 ± 2.75, 9.52 ± 2.91, 9.13 ± 2.89 mmol/h per liter, P =. 78); the correlation between PH-LPL and SI was not significant (men: r = 0.09, P =. 51; women: r = -0.03, P =. 78), and a multiple regression with PH-LPL as the dependent variable and age, SI, body mass index, and sex as independent variables, adjusted R2 was <2% and the contribution of SI was not significant (P =. 53). Hence, in African Americans, increased PH-LPL activity is associated with a decrease in TG levels. The lack of an effect of insulin resistance on PH-LPL could allow LPL to clear TG even in the presence of insulin resistance and explain the coexistence of insulin resistance and normotriglyceridemia in African Americans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)902-909
Number of pages8
JournalMetabolism: clinical and experimental
Volume54
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

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