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PPAR Research
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 684159, 28 pages
Review Article

Functional Role of PPARs in Ruminants: Potential Targets for Fine-Tuning Metabolism during Growth and Lactation

1Animal and Rangeland Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97330, USA
2Animal and Nutritional Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801, USA

Received 24 November 2012; Revised 1 March 2013; Accepted 1 March 2013

Academic Editor: Stéphane Mandard

Copyright © 2013 Massimo Bionaz 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.


Characterization and biological roles of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) isotypes are well known in monogastrics, but not in ruminants. However, a wealth of information has accumulated in little more than a decade on ruminant PPARs including isotype tissue distribution, response to synthetic and natural agonists, gene targets, and factors affecting their expression. Functional characterization demonstrated that, as in monogastrics, the PPAR isotypes control expression of genes involved in lipid metabolism, anti-inflammatory response, development, and growth. Contrary to mouse, however, the PPAR gene network appears to controls milk fat synthesis in lactating ruminants. As in monogastrics, PPAR isotypes in ruminants are activated by long-chain fatty acids, therefore, making them ideal candidates for fine-tuning metabolism in this species via nutrients. In this regard, using information accumulated in ruminants and monogastrics, we propose a model of PPAR isotype-driven biological functions encompassing key tissues during the peripartal period in dairy cattle.