Cyclooxygenase (COX) activity increases in the human amnion in the settings of term and idiopathic preterm labor, contributing to the generation of uterotonic prostaglandins (PGs) known to participate in mammalian parturition. Augmented COX activity is highly correlated with increased COX2 (also known as prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2, PTGS2) gene expression. We and others have demonstrated an essential role for nuclear factor κB (NFκB) in cytokine-driven COX2 expression. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARG), a member of the nuclear hormone receptor superfamily, has been shown to antagonize NFκB activation and inflammatory gene expression, including COX2. We hypothesized that PPARG activation might suppress COX2 expression during pregnancy. Using primary amnion and WISH cells, we evaluated the effects of pharmacological (thiazolidinediones) and putative endogenous (15-deoxy-Δ12,14-prostaglandin J2, 15d-PGJ2) PPARG ligands on cytokine-induced NFκB activation, COX2 expression, and PGE2 production. We observed that COX2 expression and PGE2 production induced by tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF) were significantly abrogated by 15d-PGJ2. The thiazolidinediones rosiglitazone (ROSI) and troglitazone (TRO) had relatively little effect on cytokine-induced COX2 expression except at high concentrations, at which these agents tended to increase COX2 abundance relative to cells treated with TNF alone. Interestingly, treatment with ROSI, but not TRO, led to augmentation of TNF-stimulated PGE2 production. Mechanistically, we observed that 15d-PGJ2 markedly diminished cytokine-induced activity of the NFκB transcription factor, whereas thiazolidinediones had no discernable effect on this system. Our data suggest that pharmacological and endogenous PPARG ligands use both receptor-dependent and -independent mechanisms to influence COX2 expression.
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