Human plasma phospholipid transfer protein activity is decreased by acute hyperglycaemia: studies without and with hyperinsulinaemia in Type 1 diabetes mellitus


Dr P. H. N. Oomen MD PhD, University Hospital Groningen, PO Box 30001, 9700 RB, Groningen, the Netherlands. E-mail:


Aims  Little is known about the regulation of phospholipid transfer protein (PLTP), that plays a key role in lipoprotein metabolism. PLTP secretion may be up-regulated by glucose in vitro, whereas plasma PLTP activity is decreased by exogenous hyperinsulinaemia and glucose-induced hyperinsulinaemia in vivo. In the present study, we evaluated the separate effects of hyperglycaemia and hyperinsulinaemia in C-peptide-negative Type 1 diabetic patients.

Methods  The protocol was carried out in 16 patients (eight females). In each individual, plasma PLTP mass and activity (measured by enzyme-linked immuno-sorbent assay and liposome-high density lipoprotein system, respectively) as well as plasma cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) activity, lipids and apolipoprotein levels were determined at the end of four different glucose clamps, each lasting 210 min: standard insulin (30 mU/kg/h) and standard glucose (glucose 5.0 mmol/l) (SI-SG), standard insulin and high glucose (glucose 12 mmol/l) (SI-HG), high insulin (150 mU/kg/h) and standard glucose (HI-SG), and high insulin and high glucose (HI-HG).

Results  Plasma lipids and (apo)lipoproteins, measured at the end of the SI-HG, HI-SG and HI-HG clamps, were not significantly different compared with the levels obtained at the end of the SI-SG clamp. Median plasma PLTP mass and activity at the end of the SI-SG clamp were 12.8 mg/l and 13.2 µmol/ml/h, respectively. Median plasma PLTP mass decreased by 9.1% at the end of the HI-HG clamp (P < 0.01), whereas the changes at the end of the SI-HG and HI-SG clamps were not significant. Median plasma PLTP activity decreased by 5.7, 4.6 and 8.6% at the end of the SI-HG, HI-SG and HI-HG clamps, respectively (all P < 0.05). Median plasma CETP activity was 177 nmol/ml/h at the end of the SI-SG clamp, and decreased by 4.9% (P < 0.05) and by 8.3% (P < 0.05) at the end of the HI-SG and the HI-HG clamps, respectively. Plasma CETP activity did not change significantly at the end of the SI-HG clamp.

Conclusions  The present study demonstrates that plasma PLTP activity is independently decreased by acute hyperglycaemia and hyperinsulinaemia in humans in vivo. These data do not support a direct role of short-term hyperglycaemia in up-regulating plasma PLTP levels.