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PPAR Research
Volume 2011, Article ID 523520, 8 pages
Research Article

PPAR-α Agonist Fenofibrate Upregulates Tetrahydrobiopterin Level through Increasing the Expression of Guanosine 5′-Triphosphate Cyclohydrolase-I in Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells

1Department of Endocrinology, Peking University Third Hospital, Beijing 100191, China
2Department of Cardiology, Beijing Tongren Hospital, Beijing 100191, China
3Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, School of Basic Medical Sciences and Key Laboratory of Molecular Cardiovascular Science of Ministry of Education, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing 100191, China
4Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Peking University Third Hospital, Beijing 100191, China
5Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Vascular Surgery Research, Pittsburgh, PA 15240, USA

Received 10 June 2011; Revised 4 August 2011; Accepted 4 September 2011

Academic Editor: Nanping Wang

Copyright © 2011 Jinbo Liu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) is an essential cofactor for endothelial nitric oxide (NO) synthase. Guanosine 5′-triphosphate cyclohydrolase-I (GTPCH-I) is a key limiting enzyme for BH4 synthesis. In the present in vitro study, we investigated whether peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (PPAR-α) agonist fenofibrate could recouple eNOS by reversing low-expression of intracellular BH4 in endothelial cells and discussed the potential mechanisms. After human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were treated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) for 24 hours, the levels of cellular eNOS, BH4 and cell supernatant NO were significantly reduced compared to control group. And the fluorescence intensity of intracellular ROS was significantly increased. But pretreated with fenofibrate (10 umol/L) for 2 hours before cells were induced by LPS, the levels of eNOS, NO, and BH4 were significantly raised compared to LPS treatment alone. ROS production was markedly reduced in fenofibrate group than LPS group. In addition, our results showed that the level of intracellular GTPCH-I detected by western blot was increased in a concentration-dependent manner after being treated with fenofibrate. These results suggested that fenofibrate might help protect endothelial function and against atherosclerosis by increasing level of BH4 and decreasing production of ROS through upregulating the level of intracellular GTPCH-I.