Purpose: We investigated the relationship between the effects of troglitazone (TGZ) on cellular growth, differentiation and apoptosis induction, and the induction of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) gamma in three human colon cancer cell lines, HCT-15, DLD-1and LoVo.
Methods: Viable cell number was evaluated by the Alamar blue assay and apoptotic cell death by TUNEL methods. Expression of PPARgamma mRNA and protein was examined by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and Western blot, respectively. The differentiation markers of colonic mucosa, villin and MUC2 mRNAs, were analyzed by real-time RT-PCR.
Results: HCT-15 and DLD-1 cells proliferated rapidly while LoVo cells grew slowly. TGZ dose-dependently inhibited the proliferation of all the cell lines, and also induced apoptotic cell death. High expression of PPARgamma mRNA and protein was demonstrated in DLD-1 and LoVo cells before TGZ treatment. After the treatment, PPARgamma mRNA and protein levels were increased in HCT-15 and LoVo cells. Villin and MUC2 mRNAs were increased by TGZ treatment in HCT-15 cells while villin mRNA was repressed in LoVo cells. Changes in expression of PPARgamma, villin or MUC2 mRNAs were not observed in DLD-1 cells.
Conclusions: These results suggest that PPARgamma levels are not correlated with the rates of cell proliferation. Differentiation induction by TGZ was only observed in the cell lines with enhanced PPARgamma expression.