PPAR: a mediator of peroxisome proliferator action.Mutat Res. 1995 Dec; 333(1-2):101-9.MR
Peroxisome proliferators are a diverse group of rodent hepatocarcinogens that include hypolipidemic drugs, plasticizers and herbicides. These compounds when administered to rats and mice produce a dramatic increase in the size and number of hepatic peroxisomes and increase the capacity of the hepatocyte to metabolise fatty acids by inducing peroxisomal beta-oxidation enzymes such as acyl CoA oxidase. Members of the steroid hormone receptor superfamily of ligand-activated transcription factors have been identified that can be activated by peroxisome proliferators and are therefore called 'peroxisome proliferator activated receptors' (PPAR). There appear to be four PPAR isoforms within vertebrates termed alpha, beta, gamma and delta and the alpha isoform appears to be the one that is most strongly activated by synthetic peroxisome proliferators such as Wy-14,643. It has been demonstrated that PPAR alpha forms a heterodimer with the retinoid X receptor (RXR) and binds to specific DNA sequences located upstream of peroxisome proliferator responsive genes. It is therefore suggested that PPARs mediate the pleiotropic effects of peroxisome proliferators including the regulation of gene expression and rodent hepatocarcinogenesis. Rodents fed a high-fat diet develop peroxisome proliferation and many of the enzymes induced by peroxisome proliferators are involved in fatty acid metabolism. Furthermore, PPARs are activated by a wide range of fatty acids and hypolipidemic drugs, such as clofibrate, that lower triglyceride levels in man. Although it remains to be determined whether fatty acids and peroxisome proliferators bind directly to any PPAR these data suggest that the natural role of PPARs in man is to regulate lipid homeostasis. Interestingly, hypolipidaemic drugs fail to elicit peroxisome proliferation in human hepatocytes although hypolipidaemic effects are observed in patients. A further understanding of the role of PPAR in man will require: (1) the identification of additional human PPARs combined with functional analyses using these and other nuclear receptors that can antagonise PPAR action; (2) a comparison of the expression of these different receptors in human tissues; (3) a clearer understanding of how peroxisome proliferators and fatty acids activate PPAR; and (4) sequence analysis of the regulatory regions in the human counterparts of rodent peroxisome proliferator responsive genes. Together, these data will provide an important mechanism-based framework to assess the hazard of peroxisome proliferators to humans.