Differential peroxisome proliferator activated receptors activity in a rodent model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
The biology of peroxisome proliferator activated receptors (PPARs) in physiological and pathophysiological processes has been primarily studied in peripherial organs and tissues. Recently it became clear that PPARs play an important role for the pathogenesis of various disorders of the CNS. The finding that activation of PPARs, and in particular, the PPARgamma isoform, suppresses inflammation in peripherial macrophages and in models of human autoimmune disease, instigated the experimental evaluation of these salutary actions for several CNS disorders that have an inflammatory component. Activation of all PPAR isoforms, but especially of PPARgamma, has been found to be protective in murine in vitro and in vivo models of Multiple Sclerosis. The verification of these findings in human cells prompted the initiation of clinical studies evaluating PPARgamma activation in Multiple Sclerosis patients. Likewise, Alzheimer's disease has a prominent inflammatory component that arises in response to neurodegeneration and to extracellular deposition of beta-amyloid peptides. The fact that non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) delay the onset and reduce the risk to develop Alzheimer's disease, while they also bind to and activate PPARgamma, led to the hypothesis that one dimension of NSAID protection in AD may be mediated by PPARgamma. Several lines of evidence from in vitro and in vivo studies have supported this hypothesis, using Alzheimer disease related transgenic cellular and animal models. The ability of PPAR agonists to elicit anti-amyloidogenic, anti-inflammatory and insulin sensitizing effects may account for the observed effects. A number of clinical trials employing PPAR agonists have yielded promising results and further trials are in preparation, which aim to delineate the exact mechanism of interaction. Animal models of other neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, both associated with a considerable degree of CNS inflammation, have been studied with a positive outcome. Yet it is not clear whether reduction of inflammation or additional mechanisms account for the observed neuroprotection. Less is known about the physiological role of PPARs for brain development, maintenance and function. Lesions from transgenic mouse models, however, provide evidence that PPARs may play pivotal roles for CNS development and function.