Relationship of insulin sensitivity and ApoB levels to intra-abdominal fat in subjects with familial combined hyperlipidemia

Jonathan Q. Purnell, Steven E. Kahn, Robert S. Schwartz, John D. Brunzell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Familial combined hyperlipidemia (FCHL) is one of the most common familial dyslipidemias associated with premature heart disease. Subjects with FCHL typically have elevated apolipoprotein B (apoB) levels, variable elevations in cholesterol and/or triglycerides, and a predominance of small, dense, low density lipoprotein particles. It is thought that insulin resistance is important in the expression of the combined hyperlipidemia phenotype. To further characterize the relationship between insulin resistance and increased apoB levels, 11 subjects from well-characterized FCHL families and normal control subjects matched for weight and/or age underwent measurement of intra-abdominal fat (IAF) and subcutaneous fat (SQF) by CT scan, insulin sensitivity (Si) by the frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test, and lipoprotein levels. Body mass index and IAF were higher and Si was lower (more insulin resistant) in the FCHL group than in the age-matched group, but the values were similar in the FCHL group and the age- and weight-matched control group. When the relationship between body fat distribution and Si was tested with multiple linear regression, only IAF was significantly correlated with Si after the addition of SQF and body mass index as independent variables. For any level of insulin sensitivity or IAF, however, apoB levels remained higher in the FCHL subjects than in the control groups. In conclusion, in FCHL, visceral obesity is an important determinant of insulin resistance. Visceral obesity and insulin resistance, however, do not fully account for the elevated levels of apoB in this disorder, and this study provides physiological support for separate, but additive, genetic determinants in the etiology of the lipid phenotype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-572
Number of pages6
JournalArteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001


  • Apolipoproteins
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • Insulin resistance
  • Obesity
  • Visceral fat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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