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PPAR Research
Volume 2008, Article ID 142082, 11 pages
Review Article

PPAR Signaling in Placental Development and Function

1The Jackson Laboratory, 600 Main Street, Bar Harbor, ME 04609, USA
2Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Cell Biology and Physiology, Washington University School of Medicine, P. O. Box 8064, 4566 Scott Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA

Received 4 June 2007; Accepted 28 August 2007

Academic Editor: P. Froment

Copyright © 2008 Yaacov Barak et al. 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.


With the major attention to the pivotal roles of PPARs in diverse aspects of energy metabolism, the essential functions of PPAR and PPAR in placental development came as a surprise and were often considered a nuisance en route to their genetic analysis. However, these findings provided an opportune entrée into placental biology. Genetic and pharmacological studies, primarily of knockout animal models and cell culture, uncovered networks of PPAR and PPAR , their heterodimeric RXR partners, associated transcriptional coactivators, and target genes, that regulate various aspects of placental development and function. These studies furnish both specific information about trophoblasts and the placenta and potential hints about the functions of PPARs in other tissues and cell types. They reveal that the remarkable versatility of PPARs extends beyond the orchestration of metabolism to the regulation of cellular differentiation, tissue development, and trophoblast-specific functions. This information and its implications are the subject of this review.