Pleiotropic effects of thiazolidinediones: taking a look beyond antidiabetic activity

J Endocrinol Invest. 2004 Nov;27(10):982-91. doi: 10.1007/BF03347546.


Thiazolidinediones (TZD) [Troglitazone (TRO), Pioglitazone (PGZ), Rosiglitazone, (RGZ)] are a novel class of antidiabetic drugs for patients with Type-2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) able to decrease blood glucose, working through a reduction of insulin resistance. The family of TZD exerts its effect specifically bound to peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor y (PPARy). This is a member of the nuclear hormone receptor superfamily of ligand-dependent transcription factors, together with PPARalpha and deltabeta. Although PPARgamma is essentially expressed in adipose tissue, it has also been found in endothelial cells, macrophages, vascular smooth muscle cells, glomerular mesangial cells, hepatic stellate cells and in several cancer cell lines. In these cells, the PPARgamma activation by TZD determines modulatory effects on growth factor release, production of cytokine, cell proliferation and migration, extracellular matrix remodeling and control on cell cycle progression and differentiation. In addition, TZD have been shown to have a potent antioxidant effect. This review, taking a quick look beyond the antidiabetic activity of PPARgamma, shows the dramatic ranging of medical implications that the use of TZD could have modulating the PPARgamma activity in several diseases with a strong social impact, such as insulin resistance syndrome, chronic inflammation, atherosclerosis and cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arteriosclerosis / drug therapy
  • Arteriosclerosis / physiopathology
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Chronic Disease
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Liver Diseases / physiopathology
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Oxidative Stress
  • PPAR gamma / metabolism*
  • PPAR gamma / pharmacology*
  • Thiazolidinediones / pharmacology*


  • Blood Glucose
  • PPAR gamma
  • Thiazolidinediones