Thiazolidinedione Class of Anti-Diabetic Drugs Modulate Nuclear Receptor CAR Function


  • Special Centre for Molecular Medicine, Jawaharlal Nehru University New Delhi – 110067
  • Special Centre for Molecular Medicine, Jawaharlal Nehru University New Delhi – 110067


Anti-Diabetic Drugs, Constitutive Androstane Receptor, Drug Metabolism and Disposition Machinery, Nuclear Receptor, Nuclear Translocation.


The human body has developed a defence system to prevent the accumulation of endogenous (bile acids, steroids, cholesterol metabolites, neurotransmitters, etc.) as well as exogenous (xenobiotics, clinical drugs, etc.) small molecules at toxic levels. This task is accomplished by ‘drug metabolism and disposition (DMD) machinery' which entails phase I and phase II enzymes, and phase III transporter proteins. The components of this machinery act in a coordinated manner to biotransform and facilitate the elimination of small toxic molecules from the cellular milieu. Constitutive androstane receptor (CAR), a member of the nuclear receptor superfamily, acts as one of the major transcriptional regulators of the DMD machinery. Prescription of combination therapy is a common regimen during the treatment of diverse metabolic disorders and infectious diseases. In such combination therapies one drug may modulate the expression of genes of DMD, influencing the metabolism of another co-administered drug. This leads to decreased bioavailability or increased toxicity of the latter. Evaluation of drug-drug interactions (DDIs) has now become a major safety concern during drug discovery and development processes. Pre-assessment of the small molecules for modulatory effects on CAR and induction of the components of DMD can resolve the safety concerns, treatment failures and drug withdrawals due to the harmful DDIs. In the present study, we have followed a ‘reverse approach' to assess CAR activation by drugs previously withdrawn from clinical practices. We selected three redundant members of thiazolidinedione family of anti-diabetic drugs and examined their potential in regulation of CAR and its target gene CYP2B6. These drugs showed differential transcriptional activation of CAR. Two of the TZD i.e., rosiglitazone and pioglitazone enhanced CAR activity by behaving as receptor ligands while the other (troglitazone) did not influence the receptor function and was justly withdrawn since it inflicted cytotoxicity.


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How to Cite

Singh, S. K., & Tyagi, R. K. (2018). Thiazolidinedione Class of Anti-Diabetic Drugs Modulate Nuclear Receptor CAR Function. Journal of Endocrinology and Reproduction, 21(1), 27–34. Retrieved from



Original Research