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01.12.2012 | Review | Ausgabe 1/2012 Open Access

Cardiovascular Diabetology 1/2012

Balanced pan-PPAR activator bezafibrate in combination with statin: comprehensive lipids control and diabetes prevention?

Cardiovascular Diabetology > Ausgabe 1/2012
Alexander Tenenbaum, Enrique Z Fisman
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1475-2840-11-140) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

AT received speaker fee and travel expenses support from Abbott, Tribute, Novartis and Merck.
EZF declares that he has no competing interests.

Authors’ contribution

Both authors have equally contributed in the conception and drafting of the manuscript. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.


All fibrates are peroxisome proliferators-activated receptors (PPARs)-alpha agonists with ability to decrease triglyceride and increase high density lipoprotein- cholesterol (HDL-C). However, bezafibrate has a unique characteristic profile of action since it activates all three PPAR subtypes (alpha, gamma and delta) at comparable doses. Therefore, bezafibrate operates as a pan-agonist for all three PPAR isoforms. Selective PPAR gamma agonists (thiazolidinediones) are used to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). They improve insulin sensitivity by up-regulating adipogenesis, decreasing free fatty acid levels, and reversing insulin resistance. However, selective PPAR gamma agonists also cause water retention, weight gain, peripheral edema, and congestive heart failure. The expression of PPAR beta/ delta in essentially all cell types and tissues (ubiquitous presence) suggests its potential fundamental role in cellular biology. PPAR beta/ delta effects correlated with enhancement of fatty acid oxidation, energy consumption and adaptive thermogenesis. Together, these data implicate PPAR beta/delta in fuel combustion and suggest that pan-PPAR agonists that include a component of PPAR beta/delta activation might offset some of the weight gain issues seen with selective PPAR gamma agonists, as was demonstrated by bezafibrate studies. Suggestively, on the whole body level all PPARs acting as one orchestra and balanced pan-PPAR activation seems as an especially attractive pharmacological goal. Conceptually, combined PPAR gamma and alpha action can target simultaneously insulin resistance and atherogenic dyslipidemia, whereas PPAR beta/delta properties may prevent the development of overweight. Bezafibrate, as all fibrates, significantly reduced plasma triglycerides and increased HDL-C level (but considerably stronger than other major fibrates). Bezafibrate significantly decreased prevalence of small, dense low density lipoproteins particles, remnants, induced atherosclerotic plaque regression in thoracic and abdominal aorta and improved endothelial function. In addition, bezafibrate has important fibrinogen-related properties and anti-inflammatory effects. In clinical trials bezafibrate was highly effective for cardiovascular risk reduction in patients with metabolic syndrome and atherogenic dyslipidemia. The principal differences between bezafibrate and other fibrates are related to effects on glucose level and insulin resistance. Bezafibrate decreases blood glucose level, HbA1C, insulin resistance and reduces the incidence of T2DM compared to placebo or other fibrates. Currently statins are the cornerstone of the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular diseases related to atherosclerosis. However, despite the increasing use of statins as monotherapy for low density lipoprotein- cholesterol (LDL-C) reduction, a significant residual cardiovascular risk is still presented in patients with atherogenic dyslipidemia and insulin resistance, which is typical for T2DM and metabolic syndrome. Recently, concerns were raised regarding the development of diabetes in statin-treated patients. Combined bezafibrate/statin therapy is more effective in achieving a comprehensive lipid control and residual cardiovascular risk reduction. Based on the beneficial effects of pan-PPAR agonist bezafibrate on glucose metabolism and prevention of new-onset diabetes, one could expect a neutralization of the adverse pro-diabetic effect of statins using the strategy of a combined statin/fibrate therapy.
Authors’ original file for figure 1
Authors’ original file for figure 2
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