Deletion of PPARγ in lung macrophages provides an immunoprotective response against M. tuberculosis infection in mice

Tuberculosis (Edinb). 2018 Jul;111:170-177. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2018 Jun 21.


Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) is a nuclear transcription factor belonging to the superfamily of ligand-activated nuclear receptors. It is activated by diverse endogenous lipid metabolites as well as by exogenous ligands such as the thiazolidinediones. It regulates cellular metabolism, proliferation, differentiation, and inflammation, the latter in part through trans-repression of pro-inflammatory cytokines. PPARγ is highly expressed in alternatively activated alveolar macrophages (AMs), a primary host cell for airborne Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb). Our previous in vitro study identified the importance of PPARγ activation through the mannose receptor (CD206) on human macrophages in enabling M. tb growth. The aim of the current study was to investigate the role of PPARγ in vivo during M. tb infection using a macrophage-specific PPARγ knock out mouse model with special emphasis on the lung environment. Our data show that the absence of PPARγ in lung macrophages reduces the growth of virulent M. tb, enhances pro-inflammatory cytokines and reduces granulomatous infiltration. These findings demonstrate that PPARγ activation, which down-regulates macrophage pro-inflammatory responses, impacts the lung's response to M. tb infection, thereby supporting PPARγ's role in tuberculosis (TB) pathogenesis.

Keywords: M. tuberculosis; Macrophage; PPARγ.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Load
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gene Deletion*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Inflammation Mediators / immunology
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Lung / immunology
  • Lung / metabolism*
  • Lung / microbiology
  • Macrophages, Alveolar / immunology
  • Macrophages, Alveolar / metabolism*
  • Macrophages, Alveolar / microbiology
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / growth & development
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / immunology
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / metabolism
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / pathogenicity*
  • PPAR gamma / deficiency
  • PPAR gamma / genetics*
  • PPAR gamma / immunology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / genetics
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / immunology
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / microbiology
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / prevention & control*
  • Virulence


  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • PPAR gamma