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PPAR Research
Volume 2010, Article ID 690907, 19 pages
Research Article

Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors Alpha, Beta, and Gamma mRNA and Protein Expression in Human Fetal Tissues

Toxicity Assessment Division, Developmental Toxicology Branch, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, (MD-67), Office of Research and Development, US Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC 27711, USA

Received 29 March 2010; Accepted 17 June 2010

Academic Editor: Michael Cunningham

Copyright © 2010 Barbara D. Abbott 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.


Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) regulate lipid and glucose homeostasis, are targets of pharmaceuticals, and are also activated by environmental contaminants. Almost nothing is known about expression of PPARs during human fetal development. This study examines expression of PPAR 𝛼 , 𝛽 , and 𝛾 mRNA and protein in human fetal tissues. With increasing fetal age, mRNA expression of PPAR 𝛼 and 𝛽 increased in liver, but PPAR 𝛽 decreased in heart and intestine, and PPAR 𝛾 decreased in adrenal. Adult and fetal mean expression of PPAR 𝛼 , 𝛽 , and 𝛾 mRNA did not differ in intestine, but expression was lower in fetal stomach and heart. PPAR 𝛼 and 𝛽 mRNA in kidney and spleen, and PPAR 𝛾 mRNA in lung and adrenal were lower in fetal versus adult. PPAR 𝛾 in liver and PPAR 𝛽 mRNA in thymus were higher in fetal versus adult. PPAR 𝛼 protein increased with fetal age in intestine and decreased in lung, kidney, and adrenal. PPAR 𝛽 protein in adrenal and PPAR 𝛾 in kidney decreased with fetal age. This study provides new information on expression of PPAR subtypes during human development and will be important in evaluating the potential for the developing human to respond to PPAR environmental or pharmaceutical agonists.