Background: PPARδ (NR1C2) promotes lipid accumulation in human macrophages in vitro and has been implicated in the response of macrophages to vLDL. We have investigated the role of PPARδ in PMA-stimulated macrophage differentiation. The THP-1 monocytic cell line which displays macrophage like differentiation in response to phorbol esters was used as a model system. We manipulated the response to PMA using a potent synthetic agonist of PPARδ , compound F. THP-1 sub-lines that either over-expressed PPARδ protein, or expressed PPARδ anti-sense RNA were generated. We then explored the effects of these genetic modulations on the differentiation process.
Results: The PPARδ agonist, compound F, stimulated differentiation in the presence of sub-nanomolar concentrations of phorbol ester. Several markers of differentiation were induced by compound F in a synergistic fashion with phorbol ester, including CD68 and IL8. Over-expression of PPARδ also sensitised THP-1 cells to phorbol ester and correspondingly, inhibition of PPARδ by anti-sense RNA completely abolished this response.
Conclusions: These data collectively demonstrate that PPARδ plays a fundamental role in mediating a subset of cellular effects of phorbol ester and supports observations from mouse knockout models that PPARδ is involved in macrophage-mediated inflammatory responses.