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Thyroid. 2005 Sep;15(9):997-1003.

Evaluation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma expression in benign and malignant thyroid pathologies.

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  • 1III. Medical Department, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.


Impairment of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPAR-gamma) function through a dominant negative PAX-8/PPAR-gamma fusion gene or other events resulting in wild-type PPAR-gamma downregulation has been implicated in malignant thyroid cell transformation. The aim of our study was to perform a systematic evaluation of PPAR-gamma mRNA and protein expression in normal thyroid tissue as opposed to benign thyroid pathologies of different functional status and thyroid malignancy, to gain further insights into a putative physiological role of PPAR-gamma in the thyroid and to define whether PPAR-gamma could serve as a marker of thyroid cell differentiation. Ten cold benign (CTN) and 10 toxic (TTN) thyroid nodules and corresponding normal thyroid tissues, 10 follicular thyroid cancers (FTC), 10 papillary thyroid cancers (PTC) and 8 Graves' disease (GD) thyroids were studied by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), immunohistochemistry and reverse transcriptase (RT)-PCR (PAX-8/PPAR-gamma fusion gene). PPAR-gamma mRNA expression was demonstrated in all samples. When comparing benign nodular and normal thyroid tissue of the same patient no significant difference in PPAR-gamma mRNA expression was observed. PPAR-gamma mRNA levels were similar in CTN and FTC. In contrast, PPAR-gamma mRNA expression was downregulated in 9 of 10 PTC and all GD samples, whereby at least 4 fold downregulation (compared with normal and benign nodular thyroid tissues) was observed in the latter. Immunohistochemistry showed an increased, patchy PPAR-gamma nuclear staining in CTNs and TTNs and only faint staining in the corresponding normal thyroid tissues. A diffuse and weak PPAR-gamma staining pattern was observed in all GD samples. No PAX-8/PPAR-gamma rearrangements were detected in any of the 68 thyroid tissue samples. In conclusion PPAR-gamma mRNA and protein expression levels are not concordant in benign thyroid nodular disease. Furthermore there is no clear-cut association of PPAR-gamma mRNA expression with follicular thyroid tumorigenesis. Absence of a PAX-8/PPAR-gamma fusion gene in the series of 68 thyroid samples is in agreement with the suggestion of PAX-8/PPAR-gamma rearrangement being restricted to a subset of follicular thyroid cancers. The marked downregulation of PPAR-gamma in GD warrants further investigation and could be linked, for example, with changes in apoptosis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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