PPARα and PPARγ protect against HIV-1-induced MMP-9 overexpression via caveolae-associated ERK and Akt signaling

Wen Huang, Ibolya E. András, Geun Bae Rha, Bernhard Hennig, Michal Toborek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Activation of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) is involved in HIV-1-induced disruption of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). In the present study, we hypothesize that peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-α or PPARγ can protect against HIV-1-induced MMP-9 overexpression in brain endothelial cells (hCMEC cell line) by attenuating cellular oxidative stress and down-regulation of caveolae-associated redox signaling. Exposure to HIV-1-infected monocytes induced phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and Akt in hCMEC by 2.5- and 3.6-fold, respectively; however, these effects were attenuated by overexpression of PPARα or PPARγ and by silencing of caveolin-1 (cav-1). Coculture of hCMEC with HIV-1-infected monocytes significantly induced MMP-9 promoter and enzyme activity by 3- to 3.5-fold. Promoter mutation studies indicated that SP-1 (g1940t-g1941t) is an essential transcription factor involved in induction of MMP-9 promoter by HIV-1. In addition, HIV-1-stimulated activity of MMP-9 promoter was inhibited by mutation of AP-1 site 2 (c1918t-a1919g) and both (but not individual) NF-κB binding sites (g1389c and g1664c). PPAR overexpression, ERK1/2 or Akt inhibition, and silencing of cav-1 all effectively protected against HIV-1-induced MMP-9 promoter activity, indicating a close relationship among HIV-1-induced cerebrovascular toxicity, redox-regulated mechanisms, and functional caveolae. Such a link was further confirmed in MMP-9-deficient mice exposed to PPARα or PPARγ agonist and injected with the HIV-1-specific protein Tat into cerebral vasculature. Overall, our results indicate that ERK1/2, Akt, and cav-1 are involved in the regulatory mechanisms of PPAR-mediated protection against HIV-1-induced MMP-9 expression in brain endothelial cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3979-3988
Number of pages10
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • Bloodbrain barrier
  • Human immunodeficiency virus-1
  • Matrix metalloproteinase
  • Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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