PPAR agonist-mediated protection against HIV Tat-induced cerebrovascular toxicity is enhanced in MMP-9-deficient mice

Wen Huang, Lei Chen, Bei Zhang, Minseon Park, Michal Toborek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The strategies to protect against the disrupted blood-brain barrier (BBB) in HIV-1 infection are not well developed. Therefore, we investigated the potential of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) agonists to prevent enhanced BBB permeability induced by HIV-1-specific protein Tat. Exposure to Tat via the internal carotid artery (ICA) disrupted permeability across the BBB; however, this effect was attenuated in mice treated with fenofibrate (PPARα agonist) or rosiglitazone (PPARγ agonist). In contrast, exposure to GW9662 (PPARγ antagonist) exacerbated Tat-induced disruption of the BBB integrity. Increased BBB permeability was associated with decreased tight junction (TJ) protein expression and activation of ERK1/2 and Akt in brain microvessels; these effects were attenuated by cotreatment with fenofibrate but not with rosiglitazone. Importantly, both PPAR agonists also protected against Tat-induced astrogliosis and neuronal loss. Because disruption of TJ integrity has been linked to matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity, we also evaluated Tat-induced effects in MMP-9-deficient mice. Tat-induced cerebrovascular toxicity, astrogliosis, and neuronal loss were less pronounced in MMP-9-deficient mice as compared with wild-type controls and were further attenuated by PPAR agonists. These results indicate that enhancing PPAR activity combined with targeting MMPs may provide effective therapeutic strategies in brain infection by HIV-1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)646-653
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Blood-brain barrier
  • Human immunodeficiency virus-1
  • Matrix metalloproteinase
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor
  • Tat protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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