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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2006 Mar 24;341(4):973-8. Epub 2006 Jan 24.

Fenofibrate activates AMPK and increases eNOS phosphorylation in HUVEC.

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Department of Cardiology, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, 65 Tsurumai, Showa-ku, Nagoya 466-8550, Japan.


Fenofibrate improves endothelial function by lipid-lowering and anti-inflammatory effects. Additionally, fenofibrate has been demonstrated to upregulate endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS). AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) has been reported to phosphorylate eNOS at Ser-1177 and stimulate vascular endothelium-derived nitric oxide (NO) production. We report here that fenofibrate activates AMPK and increases eNOS phosphorylation and NO production in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC). Incubation of HUVEC with fenofibrate increased the phosphorylation of AMPK and acetyl-CoA carboxylase. Fenofibrate simultaneously increased eNOS phosphorylation and NO production. Inhibitors of protein kinase A and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase failed to suppress the fenofibrate-induced eNOS phosphorylation. Neither bezafibrate nor WY-14643 activated AMPK in HUVEC. Furthermore, fenofibrate activated AMPK without requiring any transcriptional activities. These results indicate that fenofibrate stimulates eNOS phosphorylation and NO production through AMPK activation, which is suggested to be a novel characteristic of this agonist and unrelated to its effects on peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha.

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