The goal of this review was to summarize evidence supporting the view that insulin resistance/compensatory hyperinsulinemia play an important role in the pathogenesis of coronary heart disease (CHD) in nondiabetic individuals. Results of case–control and epidemiological studies in nondiabetic individuals will be reviewed to examine the link between insulin resistance/compensatory hyperinsulinemia, associated abnormalities, and CHD. The primary focus of the review will be on the central role that dyslipidemia plays in the link between insulin resistance/compensatory hyperinsulinemia and CHD. Additional issues to be addressed include the following: (1) the relationship among obesity, insulin resistance, and CHD; (2) a listing of other abnormalities that contribute to risk of CHD in insulin-resistant individuals; and (3) discussion of the importance of differential tissue insulin sensitivity in the development of abnormalities that increase CHD risk in insulin-resistant, nondiabetic individuals. The information will reflect the author’s decision as to what issues are believed to be of particular relevance or less well appreciated concerning the complex relationship between insulin resistance and CHD. Resistance to insulin-mediated glucose disposal and hyperinsulinemia is a common finding in apparently healthy individuals and is associated with a number of abnormalities that greatly increase risk of CHD.

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