The expression patterns of the three different peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) isotypes have been determined during rat embryonic development by in situ hybridization. The expression of PPARalpha starts late in development, with increasing levels in organs such as liver, kidney, intestine, and pancreas, in which it will also be present later in adulthood to regulate its specific target genes. PPARalpha is also transiently expressed in the embryonic epidermis and central nervous system. PPARgamma presents a very restricted pattern of expression, being strongly expressed in brown adipose tissue, in which differentiation it has been shown to participate. Like PPARalpha, it is also expressed transiently in the central nervous system. Interestingly, PPARalpha, -beta and -gamma are coexpressed at high levels in brown adipose tissue. Finally, the high and ubiquitous expression of PPARbeta suggests some fundamental role(s) that this receptor might play throughout development.