Fat and beyond: the diverse biology of PPARgamma

Annu Rev Biochem. 2008;77:289-312. doi: 10.1146/annurev.biochem.77.061307.091829.


The nuclear receptor PPARgamma is a ligand-activated transcription factor that plays an important role in the control of gene expression linked to a variety of physiological processes. PPARgamma was initially characterized as the master regulator for the development of adipose cells. Ligands for PPARgamma include naturally occurring fatty acids and the thiazolidinedione (TZD) class of antidiabetic drugs. Activation of PPARgamma improves insulin sensitivity in rodents and humans through a combination of metabolic actions, including partitioning of lipid stores and the regulation of metabolic and inflammatory mediators termed adipokines. PPARgamma signaling has also been implicated in the control of cell proliferation, atherosclerosis, macrophage function, and immunity. Here, we review recent advances in our understanding of the diverse biological actions of PPARgamma with an eye toward the expanding therapeutic potential of PPARgamma agonist drugs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / cytology*
  • Adipogenesis
  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Macrophages / cytology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Molecular
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • PPAR gamma / agonists
  • PPAR gamma / metabolism*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Thiazolidinediones / chemistry


  • PPAR gamma
  • Thiazolidinediones
  • 2,4-thiazolidinedione