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Circulation. 2007 Jan 30;115(4):518-33.

Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors as transcriptional nodal points and therapeutic targets.

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  • 1Cardiovascular Division, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Mass, USA.


Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) are ligand-activated transcription factors involved in the transcriptional regulation of key metabolic pathways such as lipid metabolism, adipogenesis, and insulin sensitivity. More recent work implicates all 3 PPAR isotypes (alpha, gamma, and delta, also known as beta or beta/delta) in inflammatory and atherosclerotic pathways. Because these nuclear receptors are activated by extracellular signals and control multiple gene targets, PPARs can be seen as nodes that control multiple inputs and outputs involved in energy balance, providing insight into how metabolism and the vasculature may be integrated. The ongoing clinical use of fibrates, which activate PPARalpha, and thiazolidinediones, which activate PPARgamma, establishes these receptors as viable drug targets, whereas considerable in vitro animal model and human surrogate marker studies suggest that PPAR activation may limit inflammation and atherosclerosis. Together, these various observations have stimulated intense interest in PPARs as therapeutic targets and led to large-scale cardiovascular end-point trials with PPAR agonists. The first of these studies has generated mixed results that require careful review, especially in anticipation of additional clinical trial data and ongoing attempts to develop novel PPAR modulators. Such analysis of the existing PPAR data, the appropriate use of currently approved PPAR agonists, and continued progress in PPAR therapeutics will be predicated on a better understanding of PPAR biology.

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