Background: Effects of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARα) agonists on cardiovascular outcome have been controversial. Although these agents primarily affect lipoprotein metabolism, their pleiotropic anti-inflammatory effect is one of the potential anti-atherosclerotic mechanisms. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of fenofibrate and gemfibrozil on inflammation in macrophages and reveal pathways these agents may affect.
Methods and results: The two PPARα agonists inhibited secretion of CXCL2, TNF-α, IL-6, activation of p65 of NF-κB, ERK, and TLR4 expression. These changes occurred simultaneously with upregulation and secretion of β-defensin 1, an inflammation-modulating peptide. To demonstrate the role of β-defensin 1, it was knocked-down by target-specific siRNA. The effects of PPARα agonists on TLR4 expression and chemokine secretion were obviously abrogated with this treatment. In experiments investigating whether β-defensin 1 acts extracellularly, inflammatory chemokines decreased significantly after the addition of recombinant β-defensin 1 or conditioned media to cells. In experiments designed to clarify if the effects of the two agents are PPARα-dependent, induction of mRNA and secretion β-defensin 1 and inhibition of chemokine release were clearly reduced with GW6471, a PPARα blocker.
Conclusions: Our results reveal the pathways by which fenofibrate and gemfibrozil inhibit LPS-induced inflammatory activation of macrophages. This study elucidated a novel anti-inflammatory mechanism that acts through PPARα, β-defensin 1, and TLR4 pathways.
Keywords: Atherosclerosis; Beta-defensins; Fenofibrate; Gemfibrozil; Toll-like receptor 4.
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