Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα) is a nuclear hormone receptor that promotes fatty acid β-oxidation (FAO) and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). We and others have recently shown that PPARα and its target genes are downregulated, and FAO and OXPHOS are impaired in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). However, whether PPARα and FAO/OXPHOS are causally linked to ADPKD progression is not entirely clear. We report that expression of PPARα and FAO/OXPHOS genes is downregulated, and in vivo β-oxidation rate of 3 H-labeled triolein is reduced in Pkd1 RC/RC mice, a slowly progressing orthologous model of ADPKD that closely mimics the human ADPKD phenotype. To evaluate the effects of upregulating PPARα, we conducted a 5-mo, randomized, preclinical trial by treating Pkd1 RC/RC mice with fenofibrate, a clinically available PPARα agonist. Fenofibrate treatment resulted in increased expression of PPARα and FAO/OXPHOS genes, upregulation of peroxisomal and mitochondrial biogenesis markers, and higher β-oxidation rates in Pkd1 RC/RC kidneys. MRI-assessed total kidney volume and total cyst volume, kidney-weight-to-body-weight ratio, cyst index, and serum creatinine levels were significantly reduced in fenofibrate-treated compared with untreated littermate Pkd1 RC/RC mice. Moreover, fenofibrate treatment was associated with reduced kidney cyst proliferation and infiltration by inflammatory cells, including M2-like macrophages. Finally, fenofibrate treatment also reduced bile duct cyst number, cyst proliferation, and liver inflammation and fibrosis. In conclusion, our studies suggest that promoting PPARα activity to enhance mitochondrial metabolism may be a useful therapeutic strategy for ADPKD.
- Fatty acid oxidation
- Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α
- Polycystic kidney disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas