Fibrates are hypolipidemic drugs that are also able to improve glucose tolerance in animals and diabetic patients through an unknown mechanism. Since uncoupling proteins (UCP) seem to play an important role in the pathogenesis of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), we examined whether treatment of rats with bezafibrate for 3, 7, or 15 days modified UCP mRNA levels. Using RT-PCR, we observed a weak ectopic expression of UCP-1 and a 2-fold increase in UCP-3 mRNA levels in white adipose tissue after 7 and 15 days of treatment. Moreover, bezafibrate administration caused a 1. 7-fold induction in UCP-3 mRNA levels in skeletal muscle on day 7. Since UCP-3 mRNA levels are reduced in skeletal muscle of diabetic patients, this effect may be involved in the improvement of insulin sensitivity caused by bezafibrate in NIDDM.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.