Fenofibrate Improves Vascular Endothelial Function by Reducing Oxidative Stress While Increasing Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase in Healthy Normolipidemic Older Adults
Vascular endothelial dysfunction develops with aging, as indicated by impaired endothelium-dependent dilation, and is related to increased cardiovascular disease risk. We hypothesized that short-term treatment with fenofibrate, a lipid-lowering agent with potential pleiotropic effects, would improve endothelium-dependent dilation in middle-aged and older normolipidemic adults by reducing oxidative stress. Brachial artery flow-mediated dilation, a measure of endothelium-dependent dilation, was assessed in 22 healthy adults aged 50 to 77 years before and after 7 days of fenofibrate (145 mg/d; n=12) or placebo (n=10). Brachial flow-mediated dilation was unchanged with placebo, but improved after 2 and 7 days of fenofibrate (5.1±0.7 versus 2 days: 6.0±0.7 and 7 days: 6.4±0.6%Δ; both P<0.005). The improvements in flow-mediated dilation after 7 days remained significant (P<0.05) after accounting for modest changes in plasma total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Endothelium-independent dilation was not affected by fenofibrate or placebo (P>0.05). Intravenous infusion of the antioxidant vitamin C improved brachial flow-mediated dilation at baseline in both groups and during placebo treatment (P<0.05), but not after 2 and 7 days of fenofibrate (P>0.05). Fenofibrate treatment also reduced plasma-oxidized low-density lipoprotein, a systemic marker of oxidative stress, compared with placebo (P<0.05). In vascular endothelial cells sampled from peripheral veins of the subjects, endothelial nitric oxide synthase protein expression was unchanged with placebo and after 2 days of fenofibrate, but was increased after 7 days of fenofibrate (0.54±0.03 versus 2 days: 0.52±0.04 and 7 days: 0.76±0.11 intensity/human umbilical vein endothelial cell control; P<0.05, 7 days). Short-term treatment with fenofibrate improves vascular endothelial function in healthy normolipidemic middle-aged and older adults by reducing oxidative stress and induces an increase in endothelial nitric oxide synthase.
- Received August 7, 2012.
- Revision received August 21, 2012.
- Accepted September 10, 2012.
- © 2012 American Heart Association, Inc.