Fibrates are hypolipidemic drugs that activate the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors. Since fibrates may also increase energy expenditure, we investigated whether fenofibrate (FF) had this effect in diet-induced obese rats. A 2-month administration of a high-fat palatable diet to adult rats increased body weight by 25% and white adipose mass by 163% compared with a standard diet. These effects were prevented by FF, both when administered for the 2 months of high-fat feeding and when given for only the second month. Consequently, FF-treated rats had a final body weight and white adipose tissue mass similar to untreated animals on the standard diet. FF also increased resting metabolic rate, hepatic peroxisomal and mitochondrial palmitoyl-dependent oxygen uptake and mRNA levels of acyl-CoA oxidase and lipoprotein lipase. Finally, FF lowered mRNA levels of uncoupling protein-2 and did not affect mitochondrial respiration in skeletal muscle. Therefore, FF seems to act as a weight-stabilizer mainly through its effect on liver metabolism.