PPARγ activation inhibits growth and survival of human endometriotic cells by suppressing estrogen biosynthesis and PGE2 signaling

Dan I. Lebovic, Shahryar K. Kavoussi, Je Hoon Lee, Sakhila K. Banu, Joe A. Arosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory disease of reproductive age women leading to chronic pelvic pain and infertility. Current antiestrogen therapies are temporizing measures, and endometriosis often recurs. Potential nonestrogenic or nonsteroidal targets are needed for treating endometriosis. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)γ, a nuclear receptor, is activated by thiazolidinediones (TZDs). In experimental endometriosis, TZDs inhibit growth of endometriosis. Clinical data suggest potential use of TZDs for treating pain and fertility concurrently in endometriosis patients. Study objectives were to 1) determine the effects of PPARγ action on growth and survival of human endometriotic epithelial and stromal cells and 2) identify the underlying molecular links between PPARγ activation and cell cycle regulation, apoptosis, estrogen biosynthesis, and prostaglandin E2 biosynthesis and signaling in human endometriotic epithelial and stromal cells. Results indicate that activation of PPARγ by TZD ciglitazone 1) inhibits growth of endometriotic epithelial cells 12Z up to 35% and growth of endometriotic stromal cells 22B up to 70% through altered cell cycle regulation and intrinsic apoptosis, 2) decreases expression of PGE2 receptors (EP)2 and EP4 mRNAs in 12Z and 22B cells, and 3) inhibits expression and function of P450 aromatasemRNAand protein and estrone production in 12Z and 22B cells through EP2 and EP4 in a stromal-epithelial cell-specific manner. Collectively, these results indicate that PGE2 receptors EP2 and EP4 mediate actions of PPARγ by incorporating multiple cell signaling pathways. Activation of PPARγ combined with inhibition of EP2 and EP4 may emerge as novel nonsteroidal therapeutic targets for endometriosis-associated pain and infertility, if clinically proven safe and efficacious.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4803-4813
Number of pages11
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013


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