IDDM patients treated with conventional subcutaneous insulin have an abnormal increase in cholesteryl ester transfer (CET), the proatherogenic step in reverse-cholesterol transport that results in the enrichment of the apolipoprotein (apo) B-containing lipoproteins (VLDL, LDL) with cholesteryl ester (CE). This disturbance is closely linked to iatrogenic hyperinsulinemia and the nonphysiologic stimulation of lipoprotein lipase (LpL), a physiologic activator of CET, because lowering systemic insulin levels by administering insulin through the intraperitoneal insulin route normalizes LpL and CET. Hyperinsulinemia persists in IDDM patients who undergo successful pancreas- kidney transplantation (PKT) when their allografts are placed in the pelvis and drain into the iliac vein. Therefore, to determine whether hyperinsulinemia promotes CET in this setting, we studied CET, LpL, and insulin levels in 14 euglycemic normolipidemic IDDM PKT patients with near- normal kidney function (creatinine 1.5 ± 0.4 mg/dl). Consistent with our prediction, the net mass of CE transferred from HDL to VLDL + LDL was significantly increased in the PKT group (P < 0.001) compared with nondiabetic renal transplant patients receiving the same immunosuppressive drugs and healthy control subjects. Both basal and arginine-stimulated insulin levels were increased above the kidney transplant group's levels and correlated with the mass of CE transferred at 2 h (r = 0.71,P < 0.05; r = 0.66, P < 0.05, respectively). Total basal LpL activities, LpL and hepatic triacylglycerol lipase activities, and LpL mass all tended to be higher than levels in healthy control subjects. Consistent with these changes in lipase activity, VLDL particle size was significantly reduced (P < 0.025) compared with that of control subjects. These findings indicate that PKT patients with systemically draining allografts have a persisting profile of potentially atherogenic disturbances in insulin levels, LpL, and CET that resemble IDDM patients treated with conventional subcutaneous insulin injections.