We have reported that obese leptin-deficient mice (ob/ob) lacking the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR(-/-)) develop severe hyperlipidemia and spontaneous atherosclerosis. In the present study, we show that obese leptin receptor-deficient mice (db/db) lacking LDLR have a similar phenotype, even in the presence of elevated plasma leptin levels. We investigated the mechanism for the hyperlipidemia in obese LDLR(-/-) mice by comparing lipoprotein production and clearance rates in C57BL/6, ob/ob, LDLR(-/-) and ob/ob;LDLR(-/-) mice. Hepatic triglyceride production rates were equally increased ( approximately 1.4-fold, P<.05) in both LDLR(-/-) and ob/ob;LDLR(-/-) mice compared to C57BL/6 and ob/ob mice. LDL clearance was decreased ( approximately 1.3- fold, P<.01) to a similar extent in LDLR(-/-) and ob/ob;LDLR(-/-) mice compared to C57BL/6 and ob/ob controls. While VLDL clearance was delayed in LDLR(-/-) compared to C57BL/6 and ob/ob mice (2-fold, P<.001), this delay was exaggerated in ob/ob;LDLR(-/-) mice (3.8-fold, P<001). The VLDL clearance defects were due to decreased hepatic uptake compared to C57BL/6 (54% and 26% for LDLR(-/-) and ob/ob;LDLR(-/-), respectively, P<.001). When VLDL was collected from C57BL/6, ob/ob, LDLR(-/-), and ob/ob;LDLR(-/-) donors and injected into LDLR(-/-) recipient mice, counts remaining in the liver were 1.4-fold elevated in mice receiving LDLR(-/-) VLDL and 2-fold increased in mice receiving ob/ob;LDLR(-/-) VLDL compared to controls receiving C57BL/6 VLDL (P<.01). Thus, the increase in plasma lipoproteins in ob/ob;LDLR(-/-) mice is caused by delayed VLDL clearance. This appears to be due to defects in both the liver and the lipoproteins themselves in these obese mice.