Identification and characterisation of a prototype for a new class of competitive PPARγ antagonists

Eur J Pharmacol. 2015 May 15:755:16-26. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2015.02.034. Epub 2015 Mar 5.


Understanding of the physiological role of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) offers new opportunities for the treatment of cancers, immune disorders and inflammatory diseases. In contrast to PPARγ agonists, few PPARγ antagonists have been studied, though they do exert immunomodulatory effects. Currently, no therapeutically useful PPARγ antagonist is commercially available. The aim of this study was to identify and kinetically characterise a new competitive PPARγ antagonist for therapeutic use. A PPARγ-dependent transactivation assay was used to kinetically characterise (E)-2-(5-((4-methoxy-2-(trifluoromethyl)quinolin-6-yl)methoxy)-2-((4-(trifluoromethyl)benzyl)oxy)-benzylidene)-hexanoic acid (MTTB) in kidney, T and monocytic cell lines. Cytotoxic effects were analysed and intracellular accumulation of MTTB was assessed by tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Potential interactions of MTTB with the PPARγ protein were suggested by molecular docking analysis. In contrast to non-competitive, irreversible inhibition caused by 2-chloro-5-nitrobenzanilide (GW9662), MTTB exhibited competitive antagonism against rosiglitazone in HEK293T and Jurkat T cells, with IC50 values in HEK293T cells of 4.3µM and 1.6µM, using the PPARγ ligand binding domain (PPARγ-LBD) and the full PPARγ protein, respectively. In all cell lines used, however, MTTB showed much higher intracellular accumulation than GW9662. MTTB alone exhibited weak partial agonistic effects and low cytotoxicity. Molecular docking of MTTB with the PPARγ-LBD supported direct interaction with the nuclear receptor. MTTB is a promising prototype for a new class of competitive PPARγ antagonists. It has weak partial agonistic and clear competitive antagonistic characteristics associated with rapid cellular uptake. Compared to commercially available PPARγ modulators, this offers the possibility of dose regulation of PPARγ and immune responses.

Keywords: Competitive PPARγ antagonist; MTTB; PPARγ; PPARγ agonist; PPARγ antagonist; SPPARγMs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anilides / pharmacology
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cinnamates / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Luciferases / metabolism
  • Molecular Docking Simulation
  • PPAR gamma / agonists
  • PPAR gamma / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • PPAR gamma / metabolism
  • Quinolines / pharmacology*
  • Rosiglitazone
  • Thiazolidinediones / pharmacology
  • Transcriptional Activation


  • 2-(5-((4-methoxy-2-(trifluoromethyl)quinolin-6-yl)methoxy)-2-((4-(trifluoromethyl)benzyl)oxy)benzylidene)hexanoic acid
  • 2-chloro-5-nitrobenzanilide
  • Anilides
  • Cinnamates
  • PPAR gamma
  • Quinolines
  • Thiazolidinediones
  • Rosiglitazone
  • Luciferases