Author(s): Guan Y
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPAR) are members of the nuclear hormone receptor superfamily of ligand-activated transcription factors. Three PPAR isoforms, designated PPARalpha, -beta/delta, and -gamma, have been identified and attracted enormous attention as a result of the key role that these receptors play in regulating adipogenesis, lipid metabolism, insulin sensitivity, inflammation, and BP. Growing evidence points to a causative relationship between PPAR activity and the metabolic syndrome, including insulin resistance, glucose intolerance or type 2 diabetes, obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension, atherosclerosis, and albuminuria. Importantly, both PPAR-alpha activators, such as the fibric acid class of hypolipidemic drugs, and PPAR-gamma agonists, including antidiabetic thiazolidinediones, have been proved to be effective for improving diverse aspects of the metabolic syndrome. All three PPAR isoforms seem to play important roles in the development of diabetic nephropathy in type 2 diabetes. Accumulating data suggesting that PPAR may serve as potential therapeutic targets for treating the metabolic syndrome and its related renal complications have begun to emerge. This article reviews the literature pertaining to the action, ligand selectivity, and physiologic role of PPAR. Particular emphasis is placed on their pathogenic roles in the metabolic syndrome and the therapeutic utility of PPAR modulators in the treatment of diabetic nephropathy.