The PPARδ agonist GW0742 restores neuroimmune function by regulating Tim-3 and Th17/Treg-related signaling in the BTBR autistic mouse model

Neurochem Int. 2018 Nov:120:251-261. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2018.09.006. Epub 2018 Sep 15.


Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are neurodevelopmental disorders that are characterized by repetitive behaviors, and impairments in communication and social interaction. Studies have shown that activation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-delta (PPARδ) causes anti-inflammatory effects in animal models of neuroinflammatory diseases. We investigated the possible anti-inflammatory effect of a PPARδ agonist, GW0742 in the BTBR T+ Itpr3tf/J (BTBR) mouse model of autism. BTBR and C57BL/6 (B6) mice were treated orally with GW0742 (30 mg/kg, p.o., once daily) for 7 days. Effect of GW0742 treatment on repetitive behavior, marble burying, and thermal sensitivity response was assessed on day 8. We further examined the effect of GW0742 treatment on immunological parameters in splenocytes using flow cytometry (CD4+TIM-3+, IL-17A+TIM-3+, IL-17A+CD4+, RORγT+TIM-3+, RORγT+CD4+, Stat3+TIM-3+, Foxp3+TIM-3+, Foxp3+CD4+, and IFN-γ+CD4+). We also explored the effects of GW0742 on mRNA and protein expression of TIM-3, IL-17A, RORγT, Stat3, IFN-γ, Foxp3, and IL-10 in the brain tissue using RT-PCR and western blot analyses. GW0742 treatment substantially decreased repetitive behaviors, and lowered thermal sensitivity response in BTBR mice. GW0742 attenuated the expression of inflammatory markers such as IL-17A, RORγT, Stat3, TIM-3, and IFN-γ, while upregulating anti-inflammatory markers such as IL-10/Foxp3 both in the brain and periphery of BTBR mice. In conclusion, this study suggests that GW0742 corrects neurobehavioral dysfunction in BTBR mice which is concurrent with modulation of multiple signaling pathways.

Keywords: Autism spectrum disorders; BTBR T+ Itpr3tf/J; C57BL/6; Cytokines; Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-delta; Transcription factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autistic Disorder* / drug therapy
  • Autistic Disorder* / genetics
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hepatitis A Virus Cellular Receptor 2 / drug effects*
  • Mice
  • PPAR delta / agonists*
  • Receptor, Adenosine A2A / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / drug effects*
  • Th17 Cells / drug effects*
  • Thiazoles / pharmacology*


  • Havcr2 protein, mouse
  • Hepatitis A Virus Cellular Receptor 2
  • PPAR delta
  • Receptor, Adenosine A2A
  • Thiazoles
  • (4-(((2-(3-fluoro-4-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl)-4-methyl-1,3-thiazol-5-yl)methyl)sulfanyl)-2-methylphenoxy)acetic acid