In this study, we examined whether the documented increase of plasma triglycerides in patients with generalized aggressive periodontitis (GAgP) is associated with changes in lipoprotein subclass distribution and/or LDL-associated platelet-activating factor acetylhydrolase (PAF-AH) activity. Lipoprotein subclasses were analyzed in whole plasma samples using nuclear magnetic resonance methods. Compared with subjects without periodontitis (NP subjects; n = 12), GAgP subjects (n = 12) had higher plasma levels of large, medium, and small VLDL (35.0 +/- 6.7 vs. 63.1 +/- 9.6 nmol/l; P = 0.025), higher levels of intermediate density lipoprotein (24.8 +/- 11.6 vs. 87.2 +/- 16.6 nmol/l; P = 0.006), lower levels of large LDL (448.3 +/- 48.5 vs. 315.8 +/- 59.4 nmol/l; P = 0.098), and higher levels of small LDL (488.2 +/- 104.2 vs. 946.7 +/- 151.6 nmol/l; P = 0.021). The average size of LDL from NP and GAgP subjects was 21.4 +/- 0.2 and 20.6 +/- 0.3 nm, respectively (P = 0.031). Compared with NP subjects, GAgP subjects had a greater number of circulating LDL particles (961.3 +/- 105.3 vs. 1,349.0 +/- 133.2 nmol/l; P = 0.032). Differences in the plasma levels of large, medium, and small HDL were not statistically significant. NP and GAgP subjects had similar plasma levels of total LDL-associated PAF-AH activity; however, LDL of GAgP subjects contained less PAF-AH activity per microgram of LDL protein (1,458.0 +/- 171.0 and 865.2 +/- 134 pmol/min/microg; P = 0.014). These results indicate that, in general, GAgP subjects have a more atherogenic lipoprotein profile and lower LDL-associated PAF-AH activity than NP subjects. These differences may help explain the increased risk of GAgP subjects for cardiovascular disease.