The effects of treatment on plasma total triglyceride, total cholesterol, and plasma postheparin lipase activities have not been evaluated in non-insulin-dependent diabetic (NIDD) subjects without a coexisting familial lipid disorder. In 49 untreated NIDD subjects, there was a linear relationship between glycosylated hemoglobin (GHb) and triglyceride (r = 0.35, P < 0.02). This correlation was improved after adjusting for the effects of obesity by a partial correlation analysis. After therapy, there was a significant relationship between the change in GHb and the change in triglyceride.
To determine whether changes in lipid removal from plasma may contribute to the decrease in plasma lipid concentrations during treatment, the plasma postheparin lipoprotein lipase and hepatic lipase activities were evaluated in a subgroup (N = 8) of these NIDD subjects before and after 1 and 3 mo of therapy.
Plasma postheparin hepatic lipase activity in the NIDD subjects was not different from that observed in six normal control subjects and did not change during therapy. In contrast, plasma postheparin lipoprotein lipase activity was lower in the untreated NIDD subjects than in the control subjects. Analysis of the two phases (early and late) of the postheparin lipoprotein lipase activity in plasma showed that the abnormal early phase in untreated NIDD corrected to normal values in less than a month, but the late phase was not corrected until the 3-mo measurement. These findings suggest that some NIDD subjects have a defect in heparin releasable lipoprotein lipase activity, which is reversed with improved glycemic control. This defect in lipoprotein lipase could contribute to the elevation in plasma triglyceride concentration by limiting triglyceride removal from plasma.