Cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) transfers cholesteryl esters from HDL to VLDL and LDL. Phospholipid transfer protein (PLTP) transfers phospholipids between lipoproteins, converts HDL3 into larger and smaller particles, and is involved in pre-beta-HDL generation. We examined the effects of 24-h hyperinsulinemia (30 mU x kg(-1) x h(-1)) and 24-h Acipimox (250 mg/4 h) on plasma lipids as well as CETP and PLTP activities (measured with exogenous substrate assays) in eight healthy and eight type 2 diabetic subjects. After 24 h of insulin, plasma free fatty acids (FFAs), HDL cholesterol, and plasma apolipoprotein AI decreased in healthy subjects and type 2 diabetic patients (P < 0.05). Plasma triglycerides did not significantly change in either group. After 24 h of Acipimox, all parameters, including plasma triglycerides, decreased in both groups (P < 0.05). Insulin decreased plasma PLTP activity by 17.6% after 24 h in healthy subjects (P < 0.05) and 10.2% in diabetic patients (P < 0.05 vs. baseline; P < 0.05 vs. healthy subjects). Acipimox lowered PLTP activity by 10.3% in healthy subjects (P < 0.05) and 11.3% in diabetic patients (P < 0.05). When insulin was infused for 3 h after Acipimox, a further decrease was found only in healthy subjects. Plasma CETP activity decreased by 9.5% after 24 h of insulin in healthy subjects (P < 0.05), but not in diabetic patients. Acipimox did not decrease plasma CETP activity in either group. In healthy subjects, the PLTP responses with insulin and Acipimox were larger than the changes in CETP activity (P < 0.05). These findings suggest that there is a metabolic link between the regulation of plasma FFA and PLTP, but not CETP. The PLTP response to insulin is blunted in type 2 diabetes.

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