Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) are members of the nuclear hormone receptor superfamily that can be activated by various xenobiotics and natural fatty acids. These transcription factors primarily regulate genes involved in lipid metabolism and also play a role in adipocyte differentiation. We present the expression patterns of the PPAR subtypes in the adult rat, determined by in situ hybridization using specific probes for PPAR-alpha, -beta and -gamma, and by immunohistochemistry using a polyclonal antibody that recognizes the three rat PPAR subtypes. In numerous cell types from either ectodermal, mesodermal, or endodermal origin, PPARs are coexpressed, with relative levels varying between them from one cell type to the other. PPAR-alpha is highly expressed in hepatocytes, cardiomyocytes, enterocytes, and the proximal tubule cells of kidney. PPAR-beta is expressed ubiquitously and often at higher levels than PPAR-alpha and -gamma. PPAR-gamma is expressed predominantly in adipose tissue and the immune system. Our results suggest new potential directions to investigate the functions of the different PPAR subtypes.