Post-heparin hepatic lipase activity is reduced in chronic renal failure (CRF). This could be due to reduced synthesis, decreased activity, and/or impaired secretion of the enzyme. Further, the factor(s) responsible for such derangements are not elucidated. We examined hepatic lipase metabolism in normal, 6-wk-old CRF rats, CRF-PTX (parathyroidectomized) rats, and CRF and normal rats treated with verapamil (CRF-V, normal-V) using liver homogenate, hepatic cell culture for 8 h, and in vitro liver perfusion. The Vmax of hepatic lipase in liver homogenate was significantly (P < 0.01) reduced and the Km was significantly (P < 0.01) increased in CRF rats, but the values were normal in CRF-PTX, CRF-V, and normal-V rats. Culture of hepatic cells for 8 h was associated with an increase in hepatic lipase activity but the increment in CRF rats was significantly (P < 0.01) lower than that of normal, CRF-PTX, CRF-V, and normal-V rats. Both parathyroid hormone (PTH)-(1-84) and 1-34 inhibited the production of hepatic lipase in cultured cells from normal, CRF-PTX, CRF-V, and normal-V rats. The expression of the mRNA of the hepatic lipase was significantly reduced in CRF animals with the ratio between it and that of house keeping gene G3DPH being 15 +/-3% compared to 40 +/- 1.3% in normal, 44+/-2.9% CRF-PTX, 44 +/- 5.4% in CRF-V, and 39 +/- 3.9% in normal-V rats. Infusion of heparin to the in vitro hepatic perfusion system increased the activity of hepatic lipase in the effluent in all groups of rat except in CRF animals. Infusion of PTH-(1-34) in dose of 10(-6) M into the liver perfusion system inhibited the increase in post-heparin hepatic lipase activity. The data show that in CRF (a) the mRNA of hepatic lipase is downregulated, and hepatic lipase production, activity and release are impaired, (b) that this is due to the state of secondary hyperparathyroidism of CRF since both acute and chronic excess of PTH were associated with these abnormalities, (c) and that prevention of excess PTH by PTX of CRF rats or blocking the effect of PTH by treatment with verapamil corrected the derangement in hepatic lipase metabolism.