The aim of the present cross-sectional angiographic study was to examine if there is a relationship between the severity of CAD and postprandial lipemia in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Special emphasis was directed to determining the contribution of apolipoprotein B-48 (apoB-48)-containing and B-100 (apoB-100)-containing triglyceride-rich particles to the magnitude of postprandial lipemia and degree of CAD. The role of apolipoprotein E (apoE) phenotype as a modulator of postprandial lipemia was also evaluated. The severity of CAD was determined by a quantitative coronary angiography and the subjects were classified into two groups based on the presence (severe CAD) or absence (mild CAD) of at least 50% stenosis in a major coronary vessel. The study population consisted of 43 subjects (31 men and 12 women) with fair glycemic control and comparable fasting lipids and body mass index. Postprandial responses of TG, apoB-48 and apoB-100 in lipoprotein subfractions (chylomicrons, VLDL1, VLDL2 and IDL) were determined after a fat load. Type 2 diabetic patients exhibited the classical dyslipidemia of the insulin resistance syndrome and delayed clearance of both hepatic and intestinal particles. Fasting or postprandial lipid or lipoprotein measurements, including apoB-48 and apoB-100 concentrations, did not differ between the groups. The presence or absence of apoE-4 allele did not significantly influence postprandial lipemia. The severity of the most significant coronary stenosis in angiography correlated with plasma and with chylomicron area under curve (AUC) for TG (n=27) and chylomicron AUC for apoB-48 (n=20). The strongest correlate of maximal stenosis was area under incremental curve (AUIC) for apoB-100 in IDL fraction (r=0.548, P=0. 012, n=20). In conclusion, postprandial apoB-48 and apoB-100 metabolism in triglyceride rich lipoproteins is distorted in type 2 diabetic patients, even in those with only mild CAD. The data suggest that postprandial change in small remnant particle numbers may contribute to the severity of CAD in type 2 diabetes.