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The Role of T cell PPAR γ in mice with experimental inflammatory bowel disease

Amir J Guri, Saroj K Mohapatra, William T Horne, Raquel Hontecillas* and Josep Bassaganya-Riera*

Author Affiliations

Nutritional Immunology and Molecular Nutrition Laboratory, Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA

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BMC Gastroenterology 2010, 10:60  doi:10.1186/1471-230X-10-60

Published: 10 June 2010



Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPAR γ) is a nuclear receptor whose activation has been shown to modulate macrophage and T cell-mediated inflammation. The objective of this study was to investigate the mechanisms by which the deletion of PPAR γ in T cells modulates immune cell distribution and colonic gene expression and the severity of experimental IBD.


PPAR γ flfl; CD4 Cre+ (CD4cre) or Cre- (WT) mice were challenged with 2.5% dextran sodium sulfate in their drinking water for 0, 2, or 7 days. Mice were scored on disease severity both clinically and histopathologically. Flow cytometry was used to assess lymphocyte and macrophage populations in the blood, spleen, and mesenteric lymph nodes (MLN). Global gene expression in colonic mucosa was profiled using Affymetrix microarrays.


The deficiency of PPAR γ in T cells accelerated the onset of disease and body weight loss. Examination of colon histopathology revealed significantly greater epithelial erosion, leukocyte infiltration, and mucosal thickening in the CD4cre mice on day 7. CD4cre mice had more CD8+ T cells than WT mice and fewer CD4+FoxP3+ regulatory T cells (Treg) and IL10+CD4+ T cells in blood and MLN, respectively. Transcriptomic profiling revealed around 3000 genes being transcriptionally altered as a result of DSS challenge in CD4cre mice. These included up-regulated mRNA expression of adhesion molecules, proinflammatory cytokines interleukin-6 (IL-6) and IL-1β, and suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS-3) on day 7. Gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) showed that the ribosome and Krebs cycle pathways were downregulated while the apoptosis pathway was upregulated in colons of mice lacking PPAR γ in T cells.


The expression of PPAR γ in T cells is involved in preventing gut inflammation by regulating colonic expression of adhesion molecules and inflammatory mediators at later stages of disease while favoring the recruitment of Treg to the mucosal inductive sites.