Fenofibrate and metabolic syndrome

Aldi T. Kraja, Michael A. Province, Robert J. Straka, Jose M. Ordovas, Ingrid B. Borecki, Donna K. Arnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The fibric acid derivative, fenofibrate (FF) has been used in the US since 1998 to manage patients with dyslipidemia. Typical changes in serum lipids as a result of FF treatment include clinically important mean reductions of serum triglycerides (TG) by a mean change of -93.7 mg/dL (-39.3%), increases of high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDLC) by +5.5 mg/dL (+12.4%), and reductions in low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDLC) by -17.9 mg/dL (-12.3%). The greatest reductions in serum TG are usually observed in subjects with elevated baseline TG including those with the metabolic syndrome (MetS). Although statins remain the mainstay of therapy for most dyslipidemic patients, their combined use with FF would be expected to address residual risk resulting from less than optimal TG and HDLC levels in such patients. Clinical trials examining the cardiovascular benefits of FF alone or combined with statins have produced mixed results. These observations underscore our lack of understanding of which patients may benefit from FF therapy and which do not. Although FF's basic mechanism of action is known to involve PPAR-α agonist activity resulting in altered transcription of several genes, the actual genetic bases for variability in lipid response is poorly understood. Studies, such as our GOLDN study and others were designed to better understand the genetic determinants of variability in the response to FF treatment and lipid levels. As a result several important genetic determinants of lipid levels have been identified. For example, in the GOLDN study SNPs from different genes were significantly associated with baseline lipid levels before treatment (APOA5- rs662799, rs3135506; APOC3- rs5128, rs2854117, rs4520); APOA4- rs5104; PPARA- rs9626730, rs135543, rs11703495; LPL- rs1801177), after treatment PPARA- rs11708495; LPL- rs1801177, and appeared to modulate overall response to FF treatment (NOS3- rs1799983). In this article, we will review the literature leading up to the contemporary use of FF as an agent to manage patients with dyslipidemia and focus on emerging understanding of the genetic variability in response to FF treatment. On the basis of the available evidence, we conclude that FF is of benefit in the treatment of dyslipidemia, especially among those with MetS. However, more work is needed to specifically identify which individuals derive a benefit from FF administration in terms of clinical outcomes and which do not - particularly in the context of type 2 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-148
Number of pages11
JournalEndocrine, Metabolic and Immune Disorders - Drug Targets
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010


  • Clinical trials
  • Fenofibrate
  • Lipids
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Multivariate analysis
  • Random coefficients model
  • Single nucleotide polymorphism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Immunology and Allergy


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