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Metabolomics. 2007 Jun;3(2):137-145.

Clofibrate-induced changes in the liver, heart, brain and white adipose lipid metabolome of Swiss-Webster mice.

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Department of Entomology and Cancer Research Center, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.


Peroxisome proliferator activated receptor alpha (PPARα) agonists are anti-hyperlipidemic drugs that influence fatty acid combustion, phospholipid biosynthesis and lipoprotein metabolism. To evaluate impacts on other aspects of lipid metabolism, we applied targeted metabolomics to liver, heart, brain and white adipose tissue samples from male Swiss-Webster mice exposed to a 5 day, 500 mg/kg/day regimen of i.p. clofibrate. Tissue concentrations of free fatty acids and the fatty acid content of sphingomyelin, cardiolipin, cholesterol esters, triglycerides and phospholipids were quantified. Responses were tissue-specific, with changes observed in the liver > heart ≫ brain > adipose. These results indicate that liver saturated fatty acid-rich triglycerides feeds clofibrate-induced monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) synthesis, which were incorporated into hepatic phospholipids and sphingomyelin. In addition, selective enrichment of docosahexeneoic acid in the phosphatidylserine of liver (1.7-fold), heart (1.6-fold) and brain (1.5-fold) suggests a clofibrate-dependent systemic activation of phosphatidylserine synthetase 2. Furthermore, the observed ~20% decline in cardiac sphingomyelin is consistent with activation of a sphingomeylinase with a substrate preference for polyunsaturate-containing sphingomyelin. Finally, perturbations in the liver, brain, and adipose cholesterol esters were observed, with clofibrate exposure elevating brain cholesterol arachidonyl-esters ~20-fold. Thus, while supporting previous findings, this study has identified novel impacts of PPARα agonist exposure on lipid metabolism that should be further explored.

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