Selective modulator of nuclear receptor PPARγ with reduced adipogenic potential ameliorates experimental nephrotic syndrome

iScience. 2022 Feb 28;25(4):104001. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2022.104001. eCollection 2022 Apr 15.


Glomerular disease manifests as nephrotic syndrome (NS) with high proteinuria and comorbidities, and is frequently refractory to standard treatments. We hypothesized that a selective modulator of PPARγ, GQ-16, will provide therapeutic advantage over traditional PPARγ agonists for NS treatment. We demonstrate in a pre-clinical NS model that proteinuria is reduced with pioglitazone to 64%, and robustly with GQ-16 to 81% of nephrosis, comparable to controls. Although both GQ-16 and pioglitazone restore glomerular-Nphs1, hepatic-Pcsk9 and serum-cholesterol, only GQ-16 restores glomerular-Nrf2, and reduces hypoalbuminemia and hypercoagulopathy. GQ-16 and pioglitazone restore common and distinct glomerular gene expression analyzed by RNA-seq and induce insulin sensitizing adipokines to various degrees. Pioglitazone but not GQ-16 induces more lipid accumulation and aP2 in adipocytes and white adipose tissue. We conclude that selective modulation of PPARγ by a partial agonist, GQ-16, is more advantageous than pioglitazone in reducing proteinuria, NS associated comorbidities, and adipogenic side effects of full PPARγ agonists.

Keywords: Cell biology; Molecular physiology; Nephrology.