PPARalpha: energy combustion, hypolipidemia, inflammation and cancer

Nucl Recept Signal. 2010 Apr 16:8:e002. doi: 10.1621/nrs.08002.


The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARalpha, or NR1C1) is a nuclear hormone receptor activated by a structurally diverse array of synthetic chemicals known as peroxisome proliferators. Endogenous activation of PPARalpha in liver has also been observed in certain gene knockout mouse models of lipid metabolism, implying the existence of enzymes that either generate (synthesize) or degrade endogenous PPARalpha agonists. For example, substrates involved in fatty acid oxidation can function as PPARalpha ligands. PPARalpha serves as a xenobiotic and lipid sensor to regulate energy combustion, hepatic steatosis, lipoprotein synthesis, inflammation and liver cancer. Mainly, PPARalpha modulates the activities of all three fatty acid oxidation systems, namely mitochondrial and peroxisomal beta-oxidation and microsomal omega-oxidation, and thus plays a key role in energy expenditure. Sustained activation of PPARalpha by either exogenous or endogenous agonists leads to the development of hepatocellular carcinoma resulting from sustained oxidative and possibly endoplasmic reticulum stress and liver cell proliferation. PPARalpha requires transcription coactivator PPAR-binding protein (PBP)/mediator subunit 1(MED1) for its transcriptional activity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Lipid Metabolism Disorders / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • PPAR alpha / metabolism*


  • PPAR alpha