The aim of this study was to investigate whether the EcoRI polymorphism of the apolipoprotein B (apoB) gene influences the relationships between features of the insulin resistance syndrome and the dense LDL phenotype and apoB concentrations. A sample of 65 men was divided into two groups on the basis of the EcoRI genotype. Forty-four subjects were (+/+) homozygotes for the presence of the EcoRI restriction site that is associated with a glutamic acid at codon 4154. Twenty-one men were (+/−) heterozygotes for the absence of the restriction site resulting from a glutamic acid to a lysine substitution at codon 4154. In the (+/−) group, fasting plasma FFA levels were positively correlated with plasma apoB, LDL-apoB, and the LDL particle score that was calculated from the migration distances of LDL subspecies and their relative band intensities, reflecting the proportion of small dense LDL particles. However, these associations were not found among (+/+) subjects. The two genotypic groups were further divided into two subgroups on the basis of fasting FFA concentrations, and the LDL particle score and the LDL-apoB levels were compared. High FFA levels were associated with a higher proportion of small dense LDL particles, as reflected by a higher mean LDL particle score, irrespective of the genotype. However, the apoB-EcoRI polymorphism appeared to influence the association between high FFA levels and LDL-apoB concentrations because (+/−) heterozygotes with high FFA levels had higher LDL-apoB concentrations than (+/−) heterozygotes with low FFA levels. In addition, the integrated area under the curve of plasma insulin concentrations, measured in response to a 75-g oral glucose challenge, and the amount of visceral adipose tissue, measured by computed tomography, were positively associated with the LDL particle score only in (+/−) heterozygotes. When subjects were divided on the basis of insulin area (low vs. high) or visceral adipose tissue (low vs. high), (+/−) heterozygotes with high insulin area or with high levels of visceral adipose tissue had a higher mean LDL particle score than (+/−) heterozygotes with low insulin area or low visceral adipose tissue. However, among (+/+) homozygotes, low or high levels of insulin or visceral adipose tissue could not discriminate between men with large or small LDL particles. Therefore, (+/−) heterozygotes may be more susceptible to develop the dense LDL phenotype in presence of hyperinsulinemia and visceral obesity. Results of the present study suggest that the apoB-EcoRI polymorphism may exacerbate the alterations in the LDL particle (size and concentration) found among visceral obese-hyperinsulinemic men.

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