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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2001 Oct 15;164(8 Pt 1):1487-94.

Regulation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma expression in human asthmatic airways: relationship with proliferation, apoptosis, and airway remodeling.

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Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) Unité 408, Faculté de Médecine Xavier Bichat, Paris, France.


Airway inflammation and alterations in cellular turnover are histopathologic features of asthma. We show that the expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPAR gamma), a nuclear hormone receptor involved in cell activation, differentiation, proliferation, and/or apoptosis, is augmented in the bronchial submucosa, the airway epithelium, and the smooth muscle of steroid-untreated asthmatics, as compared with control subjects. This is associated with enhanced proliferation and apoptosis of airway epithelial and submucosal cells, as assessed by the immunodetection of the nuclear antigen Ki67, and of the cleaved form of caspase-3, respectively, and with signs of airway remodeling, including thickness of the subepithelial membrane (SBM) and collagen deposition. PPAR gamma expression in the epithelium correlates positively with SBM thickening and collagen deposition, whereas PPAR gamma expressing cells in the submucosa relate both to SBM thickening and to the number of proliferating cells. The intensity of PPAR gamma expression in the bronchial submucosa, the airway epithelium, and the smooth muscle is negatively related to FEV(1) values. Inhaled steroids alone, or associated with oral steroids, downregulate PPAR gamma expression in all the compartments, cell proliferation, SBM thickness, and collagen deposition, whereas they increase apoptotic cell numbers in the epithelium and the submucosa. Our findings have demonstrated that PPAR gamma (1) is a new indicator of airway inflammation and remodeling in asthma; (2) may be involved in extracellular matrix remodeling and submucosal cell proliferation; (3) is a target for steroid therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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