Expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARS) in human astrocytic cells: PPARgamma agonists as inducers of apoptosis

J Neurosci Res. 2000 Jul 1;61(1):67-74. doi: 10.1002/1097-4547(20000701)61:1<67::AID-JNR8>3.0.CO;2-7.


We report the isolation by RT-PCR of partial cDNAs encoding the human peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) isoforms PPARbeta and -gamma in human primary astrocytes (HPA) as well as in the human malignant astrocytoma cell line T98G. In contrast, we failed to detect PPARalpha mRNA in either of these two cell types. Because PPARbeta is ubiquitously expressed but has, as yet, no known function, we pursued our functional studies of these cells with regard to PPARgamma. To that end, we showed that PPARgamma protein is abundantly expressed in both cell types, having a molecular weight of approximately 50 kDa. Immunocytochemistry revealed a predominantly nuclear localization of this receptor. Moreover, incubation of the two cell types with 1-12 mcM 15-deoxy PGJ(2) or 1-12 mcM ciglitazone, both of which are agonists of PPARgamma, induced loss of cellular viability as assessed by the MTT assay after a 4 hr incubation. Reduced cellular viability as a consequence of exposure to PGJ(2) or ciglitazone resulted from induction of apoptosis, as assessed by DNA fragmentation and Hoechst staining, and involves activation of the CPP32 (caspase-3) protease. These data show that modulation of the process of apoptosis is one function of PPARgamma in cells derived from the human astrocytic lineage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Astrocytes / chemistry
  • Astrocytes / cytology*
  • Astrocytes / enzymology*
  • Caspase 3
  • Caspases / metabolism
  • Cell Survival / physiology
  • DNA Fragmentation
  • Gene Expression / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology
  • Peroxisomes / metabolism*
  • Prostaglandin D2 / analogs & derivatives
  • Prostaglandin D2 / pharmacology
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / analysis
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / genetics
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / metabolism*
  • Thiazoles / pharmacology
  • Thiazolidinediones*
  • Transcription Factors / analysis
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • 15-deoxy-delta(12,14)-prostaglandin J2
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Thiazoles
  • Thiazolidinediones
  • Transcription Factors
  • CASP3 protein, human
  • Caspase 3
  • Caspases
  • Prostaglandin D2
  • ciglitazone