Genetic relationship between measures of HDL phenotypes and insulin concentrations

David L. Rainwater, Braxton D. Mitchell, Michael C. Mahaney, Steven M. Haffner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


We used data from the San Antonio Family Heart Study to determine the HDL correlates of the insulin resistance syndrome (IRS), as reflected by insulin concentrations in nondiabetic subjects. We measured insulin concentrations both in the fasting state and 2 hours after a glucose challenge (2-hour insulin) and we assessed seven aspects of HDL phenotype, including size and concentration of both lipid and protein components. Measurements were obtained from 1202 nondiabetic members of 42 families. Initial quantitative genetic analyses revealed that a substantial portion of phenotypic variation in the nine variables was due to genes (heritabilities, h2, ranged from 0.32 to 0.47). We then conducted a series of bivariate genetic analyses, which indicated that there were significant additive genetic correlations (ie, pleiotropy) between the two measures of insulin and five of seven HDL measures tested, including concentrations of HDL cholesterol (fasting insulin only) and triglyceride, and HDL size distributions of apoAI, apoAII, and cholesterol; concentrations of apoAI and apoAII were not genetically related to either insulin measure. Increased insulin levels were associated with relatively smaller HDL phenotypes, and considering a similar association with small, dense LDLs, this finding suggests a common effect of insulin resistance on particle size distributions for these lipoproteins. Thus, these results suggest the existence of genes that pleiotropically influence variation in both HDLs and insulin levels and therefore contribute to the clustering of proatherogenic traits in the IRS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3414-3419
Number of pages6
JournalArteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Diabetes
  • Gradient gel electrophoresis
  • HDL
  • Insulin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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