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Angiogenesis. 2009;12(3):221-9. doi: 10.1007/s10456-009-9142-8. Epub 2009 Apr 9.

Analysis of PPARalpha-dependent and PPARalpha-independent transcript regulation following fenofibrate treatment of human endothelial cells.

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Systems Pharmacology Research Institute, GNI Ltd, Fukuoka, Japan.


Fenofibrate is a synthetic ligand for the nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) alpha and has been widely used in the treatment of metabolic disorders, especially hyperlipemia, due to its lipid-lowering effect. The molecular mechanism of lipid-lowering is relatively well defined: an activated PPARalpha forms a PPAR-RXR heterodimer and this regulates the transcription of genes involved in energy metabolism by binding to PPAR response elements in their promoter regions, so-called "trans-activation". In addition, fenofibrate also has anti-inflammatory and anti-athrogenic effects in vascular endothelial and smooth muscle cells. We have limited information about the anti-inflammatory mechanism of fenofibrate; however, "trans-repression" which suppresses production of inflammatory cytokines and adhesion molecules probably contributes to this mechanism. Furthermore, there are reports that fenofibrate affects endothelial cells in a PPARalpha-independent manner. In order to identify PPARalpha-dependently and PPARalpha-independently regulated transcripts, we generated microarray data from human endothelial cells treated with fenofibrate, and with and without siRNA-mediated knock-down of PPARalpha. We also constructed dynamic Bayesian transcriptome networks to reveal PPARalpha-dependent and -independent pathways. Our transcriptome network analysis identified growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) as a hub gene having PPARalpha-independently regulated transcripts as its direct downstream children. This result suggests that GDF15 may be PPARalpha-independent master-regulator of fenofibrate action in human endothelial cells.

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