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PPAR Research
Volume 2008, Article ID 132960, 11 pages
Review Article

Peroxisome Proliferator Activated Receptors and Lipoprotein Metabolism

Nutrigenomics Consortium and Nutrition, Metabolism and Genomics Group, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 8129, Wageningen, EV 6700, The Netherlands

Received 22 July 2007; Accepted 3 September 2007

Academic Editor: Giulia Chinetti

Copyright © 2008 Sander Kersten. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Plasma lipoproteins are responsible for carrying triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood and ensuring their delivery to target organs. Regulation of lipoprotein metabolism takes place at numerous levels including via changes in gene transcription. An important group of transcription factors that mediates the effect of dietary fatty acids and certain drugs on plasma lipoproteins are the peroxisome proliferator activated receptors (PPARs). Three PPAR isotypes can be distinguished, all of which have a major role in regulating lipoprotein metabolism. PPARα is the molecular target for the fibrate class of drugs. Activation of PPARα in mice and humans markedly reduces hepatic triglyceride production and promotes plasma triglyceride clearance, leading to a clinically significant reduction in plasma triglyceride levels. In addition, plasma high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol levels are increased upon PPARα activation in humans. PPARγ is the molecular target for the thiazolidinedione class of drugs. Activation of PPARγ in mice and human is generally associated with a modest increase in plasma HDL-cholesterol and a decrease in plasma triglycerides. The latter effect is caused by an increase in lipoprotein lipase-dependent plasma triglyceride clearance. Analogous to PPARα, activation of PPARβ/δ leads to increased plasma HDL-cholesterol and decreased plasma triglyceride levels. In this paper, a fresh perspective on the relation between PPARs and lipoprotein metabolism is presented. The emphasis is on the physiological role of PPARs and the mechanisms underlying the effect of synthetic PPAR agonists on plasma lipoprotein levels.