Effect of thiazolidinedione, a class of anti-diabetic drugs, on the mouse skin tumorigenesis

Guobin He, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Thiazolidinediones (TZDs), a novel class of anti-diabetic drugs, have been known as ligands of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ), a transcription factor that belongs to the nuclear receptor superfamily. These synthetic compounds improve insulin sensitivity in patients with type II diabetes likely through activating PAPRγ. Interestingly, they were also shown to inhibit cell growth and proliferation in a wide variety of tumor cell lines. The aim of this study is to assess the potential use of TZDs in the prevention of carcinogenesis using mouse skin as a model. We found that troglitazone, one of TZD drugs, strongly inhibited cultured mouse skin keratinocyte proliferation as demonstrated by [3H]thymidine incorporation assay. It also induced a cell cycle G1 phase arrest and inhibited expression of cell cycle proteins, including cyclin D1, cdk2 and cdk4. Further experiments showed that PPARγ expression in keratinocytes was surprisingly undetectable in vitro or in vivo. Consistent with this, no endogenous PPARγ function in keratinocytes was found, suggesting that the inhibition of troglitazone on keratinocyte proliferation and cell cycle was PPARγ-independent. We further found that troglitazone inhibited insulin/insulin growth factor I (IGF-1) mitogenic signaling, which may explains, at least partly, its inhibitory effect on keratinocyte proliferation. We showed that troglitazone rapidly inhibited IGF-1 induced phosphorylation of p70S6K by mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). However, troglitazone did not directly inhibit mTOR kinase activity as shown by in vitro kinase assay. The inhibition of p70S6K is likely to be the result of strong activation of AMP activated protein kinase (AMPK) by TZDs. Stable expression of a dominant negative AMPK in keratinocytes blocked the inhibitory effect of troglitazone on IGF-1 induced phosphorylation of p70S6K. Finally, we found that dietary TZDs inhibited by up to 73% mouse skin tumor development promoted by elevated IGF-1 signaling in BK5-IGF-1 transgenic mice, while they had no or little effect on skin tumor development promoted by 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) or ultraviolet (UV). Since IGF-1 signaling is frequently found to be elevated in patients with insulin resistance and in many human tumors, our data suggest that TZDs may provide tumor preventive benefit particularly to these patients.

Subject Area

Molecular biology|Oncology

Recommended Citation

He, Guobin, "Effect of thiazolidinedione, a class of anti-diabetic drugs, on the mouse skin tumorigenesis" (2005). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3180670.