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Diabetes. 2005 Aug;54(8):2460-70.

Therapeutic roles of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor agonists.

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  • 1Department of Atherosclerosis, Unité INSERM 545-Institut Pasteur, 1, rue du Professeur Calmette, 59019 Lille Cedex, France.


Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) play key roles in the regulation of energy homeostasis and inflammation, and agonists of PPARalpha and -gamma are currently used therapeutically. Fibrates, first used in the 1970s for their lipid-modifying properties, were later shown to activate PPARalpha. These agents lower plasma triglycerides and VLDL particles and increase HDL cholesterol, effects that are associated with cardiovascular benefit. Thiazolidinediones, acting via PPARgamma, influence free fatty acid flux and thus reduce insulin resistance and blood glucose levels. PPARgamma agonists are therefore used to treat type 2 diabetes. PPARalpha and -gamma agonists also affect inflammation, vascular function, and vascular remodeling. As knowledge of the pleiotropic effects of these agents advances, further potential indications are being revealed, including roles in the management of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and the metabolic syndrome. Dual PPARalpha/gamma agonists (currently in development) look set to combine the properties of thiazolidinediones and fibrates, and they hold considerable promise for improving the management of type 2 diabetes and providing an effective therapeutic option for treating the multifactorial components of CVD and the metabolic syndrome. The functions of a third PPAR isoform, PPARdelta, and its potential as a therapeutic target are currently under investigation.

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