THR0921 is a novel peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma) agonist with potent anti-diabetic properties. Because of the proposed role of PPARgamma in inflammation, we investigated the potential of orally active THR0921 to inhibit the pathogenesis of collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). CIA was induced in DBA/1J mice by the injection of bovine type II collagen in complete Freund's adjuvant on days 0 and 21. Mice were treated with THR0921 (50 mg/kg/day) starting on the day of the booster injection and throughout the remaining study period. Both clinical disease activity scores as well as histological scores of joint destruction were significantly reduced in mice treated with THR0921 compared to untreated mice. Proliferation of isolated spleen cells, as well as circulating levels of IgG antibody to type II collagen, was decreased by THR0921. Moreover, spleen cell production of IFN-gamma, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha and IL-1beta in response to exposure to lipopolysaccharide or type II collagen was reduced by in vivo treatment with THR0921. Steady state mRNA levels of TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, monocyte chemotactic protein-1 and receptor activator of nuclear factor kappaB ligand (RANKL) in isolated joints were all decreased in mice treated with THR0921. Finally, THR0921 inhibited osteoclast differentiation of bone marrow-derived cells stimulated with macrophage colony-stimulating factor and RANKL. In conclusion, THR0921 attenuates collagen-induced arthritis in part by reducing the immune response. As such, PPARgamma may be an important therapeutic target for rheumatoid arthritis.