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Toxicol Pathol. 2012 Apr;40(3):435-47. doi: 10.1177/0192623311431945. Epub 2012 Feb 1.

The PPARα agonists fenofibrate and CP-778875 cause increased β-oxidation, leading to oxidative injury in skeletal and cardiac muscle in the rat.

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  • 1Pfizer Worldwide Research and Development, Groton Laboratory, Pfizer, Inc., Groton, Connecticut 06340, USA.


Weak peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) α agonists (fibrates) are used to treat dyslipidemia. This study compared the effects of the potent and selective PPARα agonist CP-778875 on peroxisomal β-oxidation and cardiac and/or skeletal muscle injury with those of the weak PPARα agonist fenofibrate. We hypothesized that these muscle effects are mediated through the PPARα receptor, leading to increased β-oxidation and consequent oxidative stress. CP-778875 (5 or 500 mg/kg) and fenofibrate (600 or 2,000→1,200 mg/kg, dose lowered because of intolerance) were administered to rats for six weeks. Standard end points, serum troponin I, heart and skeletal muscle β-oxidation of palmitoyl-CoA, and acyl co-oxidase (AOX) mRNA were assessed. Both compounds dose-dependently increased the incidence and/or severity of cardiomyocyte degeneration and necrosis, heart weight, troponin I, and skeletal muscle degeneration. Mean heart β-oxidation (3.4- to 5.1-fold control) and AOX mRNA (2.4- to 3.2-fold control) were increased with CP-778875 500 mg/kg and both doses of fenofibrate. β-Oxidation of skeletal muscle was not affected by either compound; however, a significant increase in AOX mRNA (1.6- to 2.1-fold control) was observed with CP-778875 500 mg/kg and both doses of fenofibrate. Taken together, these findings were consistent with PPARα agonism and support the link between increased cardiac and skeletal muscle β-oxidation and resultant muscle injury in the rat.

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