Fenofibrate Inhibits Cytochrome P450 Epoxygenase 2C Activity to Suppress Pathological Ocular Angiogenesis

Yan Gong, Zhuo Shao, Zhongjie Fu, Matthew L. Edin, Ye Sun, Raffael G. Liegl, Zhongxiao Wang, Chi Hsiu Liu, Samuel B. Burnim, Steven S. Meng, Fred B. Lih, John Paul SanGiovanni, Darryl C. Zeldin, Ann Hellström, Lois E.H. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Neovascular eye diseases including retinopathy of prematurity, diabetic retinopathy and age-related-macular-degeneration are major causes of blindness. Fenofibrate treatment in type 2 diabetes patients reduces progression of diabetic retinopathy independent of its peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)α agonist lipid lowering effect. The mechanism is unknown. Fenofibrate binds to and inhibits cytochrome P450 epoxygenase (CYP)2C with higher affinity than to PPARα. CYP2C metabolizes ω-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs). While ω-3 LCPUFA products from other metabolizing pathways decrease retinal and choroidal neovascularization, CYP2C products of both ω-3 and ω-6 LCPUFAs promote angiogenesis. We hypothesized that fenofibrate inhibits retinopathy by reducing CYP2C ω-3 LCPUFA (and ω-6 LCPUFA) pro-angiogenic metabolites. Fenofibrate reduced retinal and choroidal neovascularization in PPARα-/-mice and augmented ω-3 LCPUFA protection via CYP2C inhibition. Fenofibrate suppressed retinal and choroidal neovascularization in mice overexpressing human CYP2C8 in endothelial cells and reduced plasma levels of the pro-angiogenic ω-3 LCPUFA CYP2C8 product, 19,20-epoxydocosapentaenoic acid. 19,20-epoxydocosapentaenoic acid reversed fenofibrate-induced suppression of angiogenesis ex vivo and suppression of endothelial cell functions in vitro. In summary fenofibrate suppressed retinal and choroidal neovascularization via CYP2C inhibition as well as by acting as an agonist of PPARα. Fenofibrate augmented the overall protective effects of ω-3 LCPUFAs on neovascular eye diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-211
Number of pages11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Choroidal neovascularization
  • Cytochrome P450 epoxygenase 2C
  • Fenofibrate
  • Omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Retinal neovascularization
  • Retinopathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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