Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPAR-γ) belongs to a family of ligand-activated nuclear receptor and transcription factors. The essential roles of PPAR-γ in controlling metabolic processes have been underscored by the successful use of PPAR-γ agonists thiazolidinediones to treat insulin resistance, a central feature of metabolic syndrome. PPAR-γ is also expressed in the vascular tissues including endothelial cells (ECs), smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and macrophages. Increasing evidence suggests that PPAR-γ is implicated both in the maintenance of vascular homeostasis and in the pathogenesis of a number of vascular conditions such as atherosclerosis, hypertension and restenosis. As an important regulator of vascular biology, PPAR-γ may represent a potential therapeutic target for these metabolic vascular disorders. This review will focus on the recent advances related to the biological functions of PPAR-γ in various vascular processes as well as the significances of the pharmacological activators/modulators of this metabolic nuclear receptor in vascular disorders.
Keywords: Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor, thiazolidinediones, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular risk, diabetes
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