Impact of the Triglyceride/High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol Ratio and the Hypertriglyceremic-Waist Phenotype to Predict the Metabolic Syndrome and Insulin Resistance

Horm Metab Res. 2017 Jul;49(7):542-549. doi: 10.1055/s-0043-107782. Epub 2017 Jun 8.


Insulin resistance is the underlying mechanism for the metabolic syndrome and associated dyslipidaemia that theoretically implies a practical tool for identifying individuals at risk for cardiovascular disease and type-2-diabetes. Another screening tool is the hypertriglyceremic-waist phenotype (HTW). There is important impact of the ethnic background but a lack of studied European populations for the association of the triglyceride/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) ratio and insulin resistance. This observational, retrospective study evaluated lipid ratios and the HTW for predicting the metabolic syndrome/insulin resistance in 1932 non-diabetic individuals from Germany in the fasting state and during a glucose tolerance test. The relations of triglyceride/HDL-C, total-cholesterol/HDL-C, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol/HDL-C with 5 surrogate estimates of insulin resistance/sensitivity and metabolic syndrome were analysed by linear regression analysis and receiver operating characteristics (ROC) in participants with normal (n=1 333) or impaired fasting glucose (n=599), also for the impact of gender. Within the lipid ratios, triglyceride/HDL-C had the strongest associations with insulin resistance/sensitivity markers. In the prediction of metabolic syndrome, diagnostic accuracy was good for triglyceride/HDL-C (area under the ROC curve 0.817) with optimal cut-off points (in mg/dl units) of 2.8 for men (80% sensitivity, 71% specificity) and 1.9 for women (80% sensitivity, 75% specificity) and fair for HTW and HOMA-IR (area under the curve 0.773 and 0.761). These data suggest the triglyceride/HDL-C ratio as a physiologically relevant and practical index for predicting the concomitant presence of metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and dyslipidaemia for therapeutic and preventive care in apparently healthy European populations.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / blood*
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / blood*
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Triglycerides / blood*
  • Waist Circumference*


  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Triglycerides