PPARs as therapeutic targets in cardiovascular disease

Marc van Bilsen*, Frans A. van Nieuwenhoven

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Importance of the field: The role of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors PPAR alpha, PPAR delta and PPAR gamma in cardiovascular disease is receiving widespread attention. As ligand-activated nuclear receptors, they play a role in regulation of lipid and glucose metabolism. This feature of the PPARs has been successfully exploited to treat systemic metabolic diseases, like hyperlipidemia and type-2 diabetes. Indirectly, their lipid lowering effect also leads to a reduction of the risk for cardiovascular diseases, primarily atherosclerosis. Areas covered in this review: The pleiotropic effects of each of the PPAR isotypes on vascular and cardiac disease are discussed, with special emphasis on the molecular mechanism of action and on preclinical observations. The mechanism underlying the beneficial effect of PPARs is not confined to whole body metabolism, but also includes modulation of other vital processes, such as inflammation and cell fate (proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis). What the reader will gain: A large body of preclinical studies indicates that, in addition to their effect on atherogenesis, PPAR ligands also impact on ischemic heart disease and the development of cardiac failure. It remains to be established to what extent these intriguing observations can be translated into clinical practice. Take home message: The versatile mechanism of action extends the potential therapeutic profile of the PPARs enormously. Conversely, this versatility makes it harder to attain a specific therapeutic effect, without increasing the risk of undesirable side effects. The future challenge will be to design PPAR-based therapeutic strategies that minimize the detrimental side effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1029-1045
JournalExpert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


  • atherosclerosis
  • heart failure
  • inflammation
  • lipids
  • metabolism
  • nuclear receptors

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