We used wild-type (WT) mice and mice engineered to express either apoB-100 only (B100 mice) or apoB-48 only (B48 mice) to examine the effects of streptozotocin-induced diabetes (DM) on apoB-100- and apoB-48-containing lipoproteins. Plasma lipids increased with DM in WT mice, and fat tolerance was markedly impaired. Lipoprotein profiles showed increased levels and cholesterol enrichment of VLDL in diabetic B48 mice but not in B100 mice. C apolipoproteins, in particular apoC-I in VLDL, were increased. To investigate the basis of the increase in apoB-48 lipoproteins in streptozotocin-treated animals, we characterized several parameters of lipoprotein metabolism. Triglyceride and apoB production rates were normal, as were plasma lipase activity, VLDL glycosaminoglycan binding, and VLDL lipolysis. However, beta-VLDL clearance decreased due to decreased trapping by the liver. Whereas LRP activity was normal, livers from treated mice incorporated significantly less sulfate into heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPG) than did controls. Hepatoma (HepG2) cells and endothelial cells cultured in high glucose also showed decreased sulfate and glucosamine incorporation into HSPG. Western blots of livers from diabetic mice showed a decrease in the HSPG core protein, perlecan. Delayed clearance of postprandial apoB-48-containing lipoproteins in DM appears to be due to decreased hepatic perlecan HSPG.