This study was initiated to test the hypothesis that plasma homocysteine concentrations are increased in insulin resistant individuals. For this purpose, the relationship between insulin resistance, as assessed by the steady-state plasma glucose (SSPG) concentration during the insulin suppression test, and fasting plasma homocysteine concentration was defined in 55 healthy volunteers. The results indicated that homocysteine concentrations did not vary as a function of SSPG concentrations (r = 0.02, P = 0.88). Furthermore, mean (+/- S.E.M.) plasma homocysteine concentrations were similar (8.2+/-0.4 vs. 8.7+/-0.7 micromol/l) in individuals classified as being either insulin sensitive (SSPG <100 mg/dl) or insulin resistant (SSPG >180 mg/dl). On the other hand, SSPG concentration was significantly correlated with fasting plasma insulin (r = 0.58, P<0.001), triglycerides (r = 0.34, P<0.05), and HDL-cholesterol (r = -0.36, P = 0.04) concentrations. These data strongly suggest that the increased risk of atherosclerosis associated with increased plasma homocysteine concentrations is unrelated to insulin resistance and/or the metabolic abnormalities associated with it.