Administration of the androgenic anabolic steroid, stanozolol, is associated with decreased high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (primarily due to decreased HDL2 cholesterol) and increased levels of postheparin plasma hepatic triglyceride lipase (HTGL) activity. Since HTGL appears to play a role in HDL metabolism, we examined the temporal relationship between these changes. HDL cholesterol remained stable during the first two days of stanozolol administration, but decreased 14% (P less than .01) by the third day and 39% (P less than .01) by the seventh day of stanozolol. HDL2 cholesterol paralleled the total HDL cholesterol level and remained stable for the first two days, but decreased 22% (P less than .01) after three days and 71% (P less than .01) after seven days of stanozolol. In contrast, HTGL increased 62% (P less than .001) during the first day, 161% (P less than .001) with two days, 230% (P less than .001) with three days of stanozolol administration, and remained elevated thereafter. Thus, during stanozolol administration HTGL increased dramatically and clearly before any change in HDL or HDL2 cholesterol.