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Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors and the control of inflammation.

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Unitat de Farmacologia, Departament de Farmacologia i Química Terapeùtica, Facultat de Farmàcia, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain.


Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) are ligand-activated transcription factors which form a subfamily of the nuclear receptor gene family. This subfamily consists of three isotypes, alpha (NR1C1), gamma (NR1C3), and beta/delta (NRC1C2) with a differential tissue distribution. PPARalpha is expressed primarily in tissues with a high level of fatty acid catabolism such as liver, brown fat, kidney, heart and skeletal muscle. PPARbeta is ubiquitously expressed, and PPARgamma has a restricted pattern of expression, mainly in white and brown adipose tissues, whereas other tissues such as skeletal muscle and heart contain limited amounts. Furthermore, PPARalpha and gamma isotypes are expressed in vascular cells including endothelial and smooth muscle cells and macrophages/foam cells. PPARs are activated by ligands, such as naturally occurring fatty acids, which are activators of all three PPAR isotypes. In addition to fatty acids, several synthetic compounds, such as fibrates and thiazolidinediones, bind and activate PPARalpha and PPARgamma, respectively. In order to be transcriptionally active, PPARs need to heterodimerize with the retinoid-X-receptor (RXR). Upon activation, PPAR-RXR heterodimers bind to DNA specific sequences called peroxisome proliferator-response elements (PPRE) and stimulate transcription of target genes. PPARs play a critical role in lipid and glucose homeostasis, but lately they have been implicated as regulators of inflammatory responses. The first evidence of the involvement of PPARs in the control of inflammation came from the PPARalpha null mice, which showed a prolonged inflammatory response. PPARalpha activation results in the repression of NF-kappaB signaling and inflammatory cytokine production in different cell-types. A role for PPARgamma in inflammation has also been reported in monocyte/macrophages, where ligands of this receptor inhibited the activation of macrophages and the production of inflammatory cytokines (TNFalpha, interleukin 6 and 1beta), although part of the anti-inflammatory effects of these ligands seems to be mediated by a mechanism not involving PPARgamma. All these findings suggest a role of PPARs in the control of the inflammatory response with potential therapeutic applications in inflammation-related diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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