BACKGROUND - Previous analysis clustered 1,238 individuals from the general population Genetics of Lipid Lowering Drugs Network (GOLDN) study by the size of their fasting very low-density, low-density and high-density lipoproteins (VLDL, LDL, HDL) using latent class analysis. From two of the eight identified groups (N = 251), ~75% of individuals met Adult Treatment Panel III criteria for the metabolic syndrome (MetS). Both showed small LDL diameter (mean = 19.9 nm); however, group 1 (N = 200) had medium VLDL diameter (mean = 53.1 nm) while group 2 had very large VLDL diameter (mean = 65.74 nm). Group 2 additionally showed significantly more insulin resistance (IR), and accompanying higher waist circumference and fasting glucose and triglycerides (all P < .01). Since lipoprotein lipase hydrolyzes triglyceride in the VLDL-LDL cascade, we examined whether these two patterns of lipoprotein diameter were associated with differences across two lipoprotein lipase (LPL) gene variants: D9N (rs1801177) and S447X (rs328).
FINDINGS - Mixed linear models that controlled for age, sex, center of data collection, and family pedigree revealed no differences between the two groups for the D9N polymorphism (P = .36). However, group 2 contained significantly more carriers (25%) of the 447X variant than group 1 (14%; P = .04).
CONCLUSIONS - This was the first study this kind to show an association between LPL and large VLDL particle size within the MetS, a pattern associated with higher IR. Future work should extend this to larger samples to confirm these findings, and examine the long term outcomes of those with this lipoprotein diameter pattern.