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HDL Triglycerides: A New Marker of Metabolic and Cardiovascular Risk


While cholesterol content in high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) is a well-established inverse marker of cardiovascular risk, the importance of HDL-triglyceride (HDL-TG) concentration is not well known. We aim to examine plasma HDL-TG concentrations, assessed by 1H-NMR, in patients with metabolic diseases and their association with classical biomarkers. In this cross-sectional study, we included 502 patients with type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome attending the lipid unit of our University Hospital. The presence of arteriosclerotic plaques was assessed by ultrasonography. A complete lipoprotein profile was performed by 1H-NMR (Liposcale test). HDL-TG was strongly positively correlated with total triglycerides, glycerol, and fatty liver index, while a strong negative correlation was observed with HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C) and HDL-particle number (HDL-P). HDL-TG was associated with all triglyceride-rich lipoprotein parameters and had an opposite association with HDL-C and HDL-P. It was also significantly correlated with circulating cholesterol ester transfer protein (CETP). HDL-TG concentrations were higher as metabolic syndrome components increased. HDL-TG was also higher with worsening glucose metabolism. Patients with carotid plaques also showed higher HDL-TG. In contrast to HDL-C, HDL-TG is directly associated with metabolism and arteriosclerotic vascular alterations. HDL-TG should be considered a biomarker of metabolic and cardiovascular risk and could be a marker of HDL dysfunction.