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Mol Carcinog. 2000 Nov;29(3):134-42.

Activators of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha partially inhibit mouse skin tumor promotion.

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The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Science Park-Research Division, Smithville, Texas, USA.


Several recent reports have suggested that peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) may be involved in the development of neoplasias in different tissue types. The present study was undertaken to determine whether PPARs play a role in skin physiology and tumorigenesis. In an initiation-promotion study, SENCAR mice treated topically with the PPARalpha ligands conjugated linoleic acid and 4-chloro-6-(2,3-xylidino)-2-pyrimidinylthioacetic acid (Wy-14643) exhibited an approximately 30% lower skin tumor yield compared with mice treated with vehicle. The PPARgamma and PPARdelta activators troglitazone and bezafibrate, respectively, exerted little, if any, inhibitory activity. PPARalpha was detected in normal and hyperplastic skin and in papillomas and carcinomas by immunohistochemistry. In addition, PPARalpha, PPARdelta/PPARbeta, and PPARgamma protein levels were analyzed by immunoblotting in normal epidermis and papillomas. Surprisingly, the levels of all three isoforms were increased significantly in tumors as opposed to normal epidermis. In primary keratinocyte cultures, protein levels of PPARalpha and, to a lesser extent, PPARgamma were markedly increased when the cells were induced to differentiate with high-calcium (0.12 mM) conditions. In addition, we observed that Wy-14643 enhanced transcriptional activity of a peroxisome proliferator-response element-driven promoter in a mouse keratinocyte cell line. These results demonstrate that keratinocytes express functional PPARalpha, that PPARalpha may play a role in differentiation, and that ligands for PPARalpha are moderately protective against skin tumor promotion. We conclude that selective PPARalpha ligands may exert their protective role against skin tumor promotion by ligand activation of PPARalpha.

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