The influence of the hypolipidemic drug, fenofibrate, on hepatic lipase (HL) gene expression and activity was investigated in the rat. Fenofibrate treatment provoked a dose-dependent decrease in HL mRNA levels. At a dose of 0.5% (w/w), HL mRNA levels were reduced to nearly 50% the levels in untreated controls. This decrease was parallelled by a comparable reduction in liver HL activity. The decrease in HL mRNA levels was already observed after 1 day of fenofibrate treatment. Whole liver perfusion experiments showed that the heparin-releasable HL activity in fenofibrate-treated livers dropped to 10% the activity in control livers. In conclusion, treatment with fenofibrate decreases HL gene expression, leading to a lowered activity of endothelium bound HL in fenofibrate-treated livers.