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J Biol Chem. 1999 Nov 5;274(45):32048-54.

Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha negatively regulates the vascular inflammatory gene response by negative cross-talk with transcription factors NF-kappaB and AP-1.

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  • 1INSERM U325, Département d'Athérosclérose, Institut Pasteur de Lille, 1 rue Pr. Calmette 59019 Lille, France.


Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a pleiotropic cytokine, whose plasma levels are elevated in inflammatory diseases such as atherosclerosis. We have previously reported that peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARalpha) ligands (fibrates) lower elevated plasma concentrations of IL-6 in patients with atherosclerosis and inhibit IL-1-stimulated IL-6 secretion by human aortic smooth muscle cells (SMC). Here, we show that aortic explants isolated from PPARalpha-null mice display an exacerbated response to inflammatory stimuli, such as lipopolysaccharide (LPS), as demonstrated by increased IL-6 secretion. Furthermore, fibrate treatment represses IL-6 mRNA levels in LPS-stimulated aortas of PPARalpha wild-type, but not of PPARalpha-null mice, demonstrating a role for PPARalpha in this fibrate action. In human aortic SMC, fibrates inhibit IL-1-induced IL-6 gene expression. Furthermore, activation of PPARalpha represses both c-Jun- and p65-induced transcription of the human IL-6 promoter. Transcriptional interference between PPARalpha and both c-Jun and p65 occurs reciprocally, since c-Jun and p65 also inhibit PPARalpha-mediated activation of a PPAR response element-driven promoter. This transcriptional interference occurs independent of the promoter context as demonstrated by cotransfection experiments using PPARalpha, p65, and c-Jun Gal4 chimeras. Overexpression of the transcriptional coactivator cAMP-responsive element-binding protein-binding protein (CBP) does not relieve PPARalpha-mediated transcriptional repression of p65 and c-Jun. Finally, glutathione S-transferase pull-down experiments demonstrate that PPARalpha physically interacts with c-Jun, p65, and CBP. Altogether these data indicate that fibrates inhibit the vascular inflammatory response via PPARalpha by interfering with the NF-kappaB and AP-1 transactivation capacity involving direct protein-protein interaction with p65 and c-Jun.

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