Haptoglobin (Hp) is an abundant hemoglobin- (Hb-) binding serum protein and a constituent of the HDL proteome. In man, there exists a common polymorphism at the Hp locus with two common alleles defined by the presence (Hp 2 allele) or absence (Hp 1 allele) of a 1.7 kb in-frame partial duplication of exons 3 and 4 of the Hp gene. Numerous studies have demonstrated that the Hp 2-2 genotype is associated with a 3-5-fold increase in vascular disease among individuals with diabetes mellitus (DM). Increased Hp-Hb complex has been shown to be associated with the HDL of Hp 2-2 DM individuals. Hb-associated HDL has been proposed to result in the oxidation of HDL and the consumption of antioxidants in HDL, such as vitamin E, rendering the HDL further susceptible to oxidation. In this study, we set out to identify proteins which become cross-linked to Hb in HDL and to measure vitamin E in HDL as a function of the Hp genotype. We report on the identification of a novel 72 kd Hb reactive species which is cross-linked to HDL and demonstrate that vitamin E in HDL is decreased in Hp 2-2 DM individuals.