Troglitazone and related compounds: therapeutic potential beyond diabetes

Life Sci. 2000 Oct 6;67(20):2405-16. doi: 10.1016/s0024-3205(00)00829-8.


Troglitazone and structurally related compounds (pioglitazone, rosiglitazone etc.) containing thiazolidinediones (TZD) are a novel class of antidiabetic agents which decrease blood glucose in diabetic animal models and in patients with Non-Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM) through alleviating insulin resistance. A large body of evidence is now accumulating indicating that insulin resistance and/or resulting hyperinsulinemia underlie the pathogenesis of not only diabetes but also of the clustering syndrome called "syndrome X" or "insulin resistance syndrome" which includes hypertension, dislipidemia and hypercoagulation. Therefore, TZD class of insulin sensitizers seem to have therapeutic potential to improve this clustering syndrome in addition to diabetes. Moreover, it was demonstrated that the TZD class of insulin sensitizers including troglitazone bind and activate the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma), a nuclear hormone receptor. Although PPARgamma is predominantly expressed in adipose tissue, one of the target tissues for insulin, it have been subsequently found to be expressed in macrophages, vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC), endothelial cells and several cancer cell lines. PPARgamma activation by PPARgamma agonists such as TZD class of insulin sensitizers in these cells modulates these cell functions such as the production of inflammatory cytokine by macrophages, proliferation and migration of VSMC, and growth or differentiation in cancer cells. In addition, troglitazone has potent antioxidant effect, and suppresses both L-type and receptor operated Ca2+ channel and protein kinase C. Thus since TZD class of insulin sensitizers has many kind of therapeutic effect in addition to lowering blood glucose, these agents expect to have therapeutic potential beyond diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Chromans / metabolism
  • Chromans / pharmacology
  • Chromans / therapeutic use*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / metabolism
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Male
  • Microvascular Angina / drug therapy*
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / metabolism
  • Thiazoles / metabolism
  • Thiazoles / pharmacology
  • Thiazoles / therapeutic use*
  • Thiazolidinediones*
  • Transcription Factors / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Troglitazone


  • Antioxidants
  • Blood Glucose
  • Chromans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Thiazoles
  • Thiazolidinediones
  • Transcription Factors
  • Troglitazone