The PPARγagonist pioglitazone prevents TGF-β induced renal fibrosis by repressing EGR-1 and STAT3

Ágnes Németh, Miklós M. Mózes, Laurent Calvier, Georg Hansmann, Gábor Kökény

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Background: It has been proposed that peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ(PPARγ) agonists might reduce renal fibrosis, however, several studies had contradictory results. Moreover, the possible interaction of TGF-β1, PPARγ, and transcription factors in renal fibrosis have not been investigated. We hypothesized that oral pioglitazone treatment would inhibit TGF-β-driven renal fibrosis and its progression, by modulating profibrotic transcription factors in TGF-β1 transgenic mice. Methods: Male C57Bl/6 J mice (control, CTL, n = 14) and TGF-β overexpressing transgenic mice (TGFβ, n = 14, having elevated plasma TGF-β1 level) were divided in two sets at 10 weeks of age. Mice in the first set were fed with regular rodent chow (CTL and TGFβ, n = 7/group). Mice in the second set were fed with chow containing pioglitazone (at a dose of 20 mg/kg/day, CTL + Pio and TGFβ+Pio, n = 7/group). After 5 weeks of treatment, blood pressure was assessed and urine samples were collected, and the kidneys were analyzed for histology, mRNA and protein expression. Results: TGF-β1 induced glomerulosclerosis and tubulointerstitial damage were significantly reduced by pioglitazone. Pioglitazone inhibited renal mRNA expression of all the profibrotic effectors: type-III collagen, TGF-β1, CTGF and TIMP-1, and alike transcription factors cFos/cJun and protein expression of EGR-1, and STAT3 protein phosphorylation. Conclusions: Oral administration of PPARγagonist pioglitazone significantly reduces TGF-β1-driven renal fibrosis, via the attenuation of EGR-1, STAT3 and AP-1. This implies that PPARγagonists might be effective in the treatment of chronic kidney disease patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number245
JournalBMC nephrology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 5 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Kidney
  • PPARγ
  • Renal fibrosis
  • TGF-β
  • Transcription factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


Dive into the research topics of 'The PPARγagonist pioglitazone prevents TGF-β induced renal fibrosis by repressing EGR-1 and STAT3'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this