Fenretinide is a novel anticancer agent reported to exhibit anti-invasive and antimetastatic activities. It has also been shown to improve obesity and diabetes, although the effects of fenretinide on hypertension are still unknown, and the detailed mechanisms remain unclear. In this study, we have shown that treatment with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) decreased the expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) in RAW264.7 macrophages, and pretreatment with fenretinide reversed the effect of LPS on PPARγ expression. In addition, LPS-induced pro-inflammatory cytokine production, including tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin 6, and monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 were dose-dependently reversed by fenretinide, and the effects of fenretinide on LPS-induced pro-inflammatory cytokine production were blocked by treatment with PPARγ antagonist. Moreover, fenretinide decreased LPS-induced inducible nitric oxide synthase expression and nitrogen oxide production. These effects were blocked by the pretreatment with PPARγ antagonist in a dose-dependent manner, indicating fenretinide activated PPARγ to exert anti-inflammation activity. In view of the role of inflammation in hypertension and the anti-inflammatory action of fenretinide, we found that administration of fenretinide in spontaneously hypertensive rats significantly decreased blood pressure. Taken together, these results indicate that fenretinide might be a potent antihypertensive agent that works by suppressing inflammation via activating PPARγ.
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