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J Appl Toxicol. 2010 Mar;30(2):151-62. doi: 10.1002/jat.1481.

PPARalpha and PPARgamma are co-expressed, functional and show positive interactions in the rat urinary bladder urothelium.

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Molecular Toxicology, Novo Nordisk A/S, Novo Nordisk Park, DK-2760 Maalov, Denmark.


Some dual-acting PPARalpha + gamma agonists cause cancer in the rat urinary bladder, in some cases overrepresented in males, by a mechanism suggested to involve chronic stimulation of PPARalpha and PPARgamma, i.e. exaggerated pharmacology. By western blotting, we found that the rat urinary bladder urothelium expressed PPARalpha at higher levels than the liver and heart, and comparable to kidney. Urothelial expression of PPARgamma was above that of fat, heart, skeletal muscle and kidney. Male rats exhibited a higher PPARalpha/PPARgamma expression balance in the bladder urothelium than did female rats. Rats were treated by gastric gavage with rosiglitazone (PPARgamma agonist), fenofibrate (PPARalpha agonist) or a combination of rosiglitazone and fenofibrate for 7 days. In the urothelium, the transcription factor Egr-1 was induced to significantly higher levels in rats co-administered rosiglitazone and fenofibrate than in rats administered either rosiglitazone or fenofibrate alone. Egr-1 was also induced in the heart and liver of rats treated with fenofibrate, but a positive interaction between rosiglitazone and fenofibrate with regards to Egr-1 induction was only seen in the urothelium. Thus, in the rat urinary bladder urothelium, PPARalpha and PPARgamma were expressed at high levels, were functional and exhibited positive interactions. Interestingly, fenofibrate induced the peroxisome membrane protein PMP70 not only in liver, but also in the bladder urothelium, opening the possibility that oxidative stress may contribute to rat urothelial carcinogenesis by dual-acting PPARalpha + gamma agonists.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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