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Eur J Neurosci. 2000 Jul;12(7):2215-23.

Role of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPAR-gamma) and its natural ligand 15-deoxy-Delta12, 14-prostaglandin J2 in the regulation of microglial functions.

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Neurobiology Section, Laboratory of Pathophysiology, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.


The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPAR-gamma) is a member of a large group of nuclear receptors controlling the proliferation of peroxisomes that is involved in the downregulation of macrophage functions. Here, we report that PPAR-gamma was constitutively expressed in rat primary microglial cultures and that such expression was downregulated during microglial activation by endotoxin (LPS). The presence of the PPAR-gamma natural ligand 15-deoxy-Delta12,14-prostaglandin J2 (15d-PGJ2) counteracted the repression of PPAR-gamma expression caused by LPS. In microglial cultures stimulated by LPS, interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) or by their combination, 15d-PGJ2 reduced the production of nitric oxide (NO) and the expression of inducible NO synthase (iNOS). The inhibitory effect was dose-dependent and did not involve an elevation of cyclic AMP, a second messenger known to inhibit NOS expression in microglia. In addition, 15d-PGJ2 down-regulated other microglial functions, such as tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) synthesis and major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC class II) expression. The effects of 15d-PGJ2 occurred, at least in part, through the repression of two important transcription factors, the signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 and the nuclear factor kappaB, known to mediate IFN-gamma and LPS cell signalling. Our observations suggest that 15d-PGJ2, the synthesis of which is likely to occur within the brain, could play an important role in preventing brain damage associated with excessive microglial activation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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