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Neuroscience. 2004;123(1):131-45.

Immunolocalization of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors and retinoid X receptors in the adult rat CNS.

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Department of Biology-LIME, University Roma Tre, Rome, Italy.


Peroxisome proliferator-activated and retinoid X receptors (PPARs and RXRs) are transcription factors belonging to the steroid hormone receptor superfamily. Upon activation by their ligands, PPARs and RXRs bind to their target genes as heterodimers. Ligands of these receptors include lipophylic molecules, such as retinoids, fatty acids and eicosanoids, the importance of which in the metabolism and functioning of the nervous tissue is well documented. The immunohistochemical distribution of PPARs and RXRs in the CNS of the adult rat was studied by means of a sensitive biotinyl-tyramide method. All PPAR (alpha, beta/delta and gamma) and RXR (alpha, beta and gamma) isotypes were detected and found to exhibit specific patterns of localization in the different areas of the brain and spinal cord. The presence of the nuclear receptors was observed in both neuronal and glial cells. While PPAR beta/delta and RXR beta showed a widespread distribution, alpha and gamma isotypes exhibited a more restricted pattern of expression. The frontal cortex, basal ganglia, reticular formation, some cranial nerve nuclei, deep cerebellar nuclei, and cerebellar Golgi cells appeared rather rich in all studied receptors. Based on our data, we suggest that in the adult CNS, PPARs and RXRs, besides playing roles common to many other tissues, may have specific functions in regulating the expression of genes involved in neurotransmission, and therefore play roles in complex processes, such as aging, neurodegeneration, learning and memory.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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