Objectives. Increased metabolic and cardiovascular morbidity has been reported in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. Previously, we have found decreased insulin sensitivity and hyperinsulinemia in a group of newly diagnosed MS patients. We hypothesize that these features may be associated with an altered lipid profile and low, intermediate, or high density lipoprotein (LDL, IDL, HDL) subclasses accelerating atherosclerosis and thus contributing to the cardiovascular risk increase in these patients.

Subjects and methods. In a group of 19 newly diagnosed untreated MS patients with previously found hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance and a matched group of 19 healthy controls, the lipoprotein subclasses profile was determined. Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis was used to separate and measure the LDL (large LDL and small dense LDL), HDL (large, intermediate and small), and IDL (A, B and C) subclasses with the Lipoprint© System (Quantimetrix Corporation, Redondo Beach, CA, USA).

Results. No difference was found either in the conventional lipid or lipoprotein subclasses profile between the MS patients and healthy controls. We found an inverse association between the level of IDL-B with fasting insulin (r=–0.504, p=0.032), the insulin resistance estimated by homeo-static model assessment – insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) (r=–0.498, p=0.035), insulin response expressed as area under the curve (AUC; r=–0.519, p=0.027), and area above the baseline (AAB; r=–0.476, p=0.045) and positive association with insulin sensitivity estimated by insulin sensitivity index (ISI) Matsuda (r=0.470, 0.048) in MS patients, but not in healthy controls suggesting the first signs in lipoprotein subclasses profile change.

Conclusions. Our data indicate that changes in lipoprotein profile and subclasses are preceded by insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia in patients with newly diagnosed MS.