The -514T allele of hepatic lipase is associated with increased high density lipoprotein-cholesterol levels in men, but not in women. This observation suggests that the -514C to T polymorphism may diminish the response of hepatic lipase to androgens. To test this hypothesis, five -514T and five -514C homozygous men were treated with the anabolic steroid stanozolol for 6 days. The mean increase in hepatic lipase activity was similar in the two groups (45+/-10 vs. 51+/-10 mmol x hr(-1) x l(-1), P = 0.5). To evaluate the association between the -514 polymorphism and hepatic lipase activity at different physiological androgen concentrations, hepatic lipase genotypes and activities were measured in 44 men and 40 premenopausal women. The effect of the -514T allele on hepatic lipase activity was significant and quantitatively similar in both sexes. These data indicate that the -514 polymorphism does not influence the response of hepatic lipase activity to androgens, and that the effects of this polymorphism on hepatic lipase activity are independent of androgen action.