Metabolic profiling of murine plasma reveals an unexpected biomarker in rofecoxib-mediated cardiovascular events

Jun Yan Liu, Ning Li, Jun Yang, Nan Li, Hong Qiu, Ding Ai, Nipavan Chiamvimonvat, Yi Zhu, Bruce D. Hammock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Chronic administration of high levels of selective COX-2 inhibitors (coxibs), particularly rofecoxib, valdecoxib, and parecoxib, increases risk for cardiovascular disease. Understanding the possibly multiple mechanisms underlying these adverse cardiovascular events is critical for evaluating the risks and benefits of coxibs and for development of safer coxibs. The current understanding of these mechanisms is likely incomplete. Using a metabolomics approach, we demonstrate that oral administration of rofecoxib for 3 mo results in a greater than 120-fold higher blood level of 20-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (20-HETE), which correlates with a significantly shorter tail bleeding time in a murine model. We tested the hypothesis that this dramatic increase in 20-HETE is attributable to inhibition of its metabolism and that the shortened bleeding time following rofecoxib administration is attributable, in part, to this increase. The s.c. infusion of 20-HETE shortened the tail bleeding time dramatically. Neither 20-HETE biosynthesis nor cytochrome P4A-like immune reactivity was increased by rofecoxib administration, but 20-HETE production increased in vitro with the addition of coxib. 20-HETE is significantly more potent than its COX-mediated metabolites in shortening clotting time in vitro. Furthermore, 20-HETE but not rofecoxib significantly increases rat platelet aggregation in vitro in a dose-dependent manner. These data suggest 20-HETE as a marker of rofecoxib exposure and that inhibition of 20-HETE's degradation by rofecoxib is a partial explanation for its dramatic increase, the shortened bleeding time, and, possibly, the adverse cardiovascular events associated with rofecoxib.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17017-17022
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number39
StatePublished - Sep 28 2010


  • Cardiovascular side effect
  • Coxib
  • Eicosanoids
  • Metabolomics
  • Vioxx

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General
  • Medicine(all)


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