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Peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor δ limits the expansion of pathogenic Th cells during central nervous system autoimmunity


Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs; PPAR-alpha, PPAR-delta, and PPAR-gamma) comprise a family of nuclear receptors that sense fatty acid levels and translate this information into altered gene transcription. Previously, it was reported that treatment of mice with a synthetic ligand activator of PPAR-delta, GW0742, ameliorates experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), indicating a possible role for this nuclear receptor in the control of central nervous system (CNS) autoimmune inflammation. We show that mice deficient in PPAR-delta (PPAR-delta(-/-)) develop a severe inflammatory response during EAE characterized by a striking accumulation of IFN-gamma(+)IL-17A(-) and IFN-gamma(+)IL-17A(+) CD4(+) cells in the spinal cord. The preferential expansion of these T helper subsets in the CNS of PPAR-delta(-/-) mice occurred as a result of a constellation of immune system aberrations that included higher CD4(+) cell proliferation, cytokine production, and T-bet expression and enhanced expression of IL-12 family cytokines by myeloid cells. We also show that the effect of PPAR-delta in inhibiting the production of IFN-gamma and IL-12 family cytokines is ligand dependent and is observed in both mouse and human immune cells. Collectively, these findings suggest that PPAR-delta serves as an important molecular brake for the control of autoimmune inflammation.

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