The peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor γ (PPARγ) is a nuclear receptor that regulates fat-cell development and glucose homeostasis and is the molecular target of a class of insulin-sensitizing agents used for the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus. PPARγ is highly expressed in macrophage foam cells of atherosclerotic lesions and has been demonstrated in cultured macrophages to both positively and negatively regulate genes implicated in the development of atherosclerosis. We report here that the PPARγ-specific agonists rosiglitazone and GW7845 strongly inhibited the development of atherosclerosis in LDL receptor–deficient male mice, despite increased expression of the CD36 scavenger receptor in the arterial wall. The antiatherogenic effect in male mice was correlated with improved insulin sensitivity and decreased tissue expression of TNF-α and gelatinase B, indicating both systemic and local actions of PPARγ. These findings suggest that PPARγ agonists may exert antiatherogenic effects in diabetic patients and provide impetus for efforts to develop PPARγ ligands that separate proatherogenic activities from antidiabetic and antiatherogenic activities.
Andrew C. Li, Kathleen K. Brown, Mercedes J. Silvestre, Timothy M. Willson, Wulf Palinski, Christopher K. Glass