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PPAR Research
Volume 2008, Article ID 527048, 14 pages
Review Article

PPAR Action in Human Placental Development and Pregnancy and Its Complications

Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA

Received 2 September 2007; Accepted 13 November 2007

Academic Editor: P. Froment

Copyright © 2008 Fritz Wieser 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.


During pregnancy crucial anatomic, physiologic, and metabolic changes challenge the mother and the fetus. The placenta is a remarkable organ that allows the mother and the fetus to adapt to the new metabolic, immunologic, and angiogenic environment imposed by gestation. One of the physiologic systems that appears to have evolved to sustain this metabolic regulation is mediated by peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs). In clinical pregnancy-specific disorders, including preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and intrauterine growth restriction, aberrant regulation of components of the PPAR system parallels dysregulation of metabolism, inflammation and angiogenesis. This review summarizes current knowledge on the role of PPARs in regulating human trophoblast invasion, early placental development, and also in the physiology of clinical pregnancy and its complications. As increasingly indicated in the literature, pregnancy disorders, such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes, represent potential targets for treatment with PPAR ligands. With the advent of more specific PPAR agonists that exhibit efficacy in ameliorating metabolic, inflammatory, and angiogenic disturbances, further studies of their application in pregnancy-related diseases are warranted.