The discovery of the important metabolic and physiological role played by a family of transcription factors, the peroxisome proliferator activated receptors (PPAR), has opened up for a new understanding of the mode of action for the lipid lowering drugs known as fibrates and for the new glucose lowering compounds described as insulin sensitizers. Both of these classes of compounds have demonstrated significant efficacy in both animal models of the metabolic derangements characteristic for type 2 diabetes and in human clinical studies. The recognition of the role of these drugs as ligands for PPAR transcription factors and the development of new molecular and cellular tools to select and characterise new PPAR selective compounds will open up for the development of even better new drug candidates for the treatment of metabolic disorders associated with type 2 diabetes. With the combined strength of new transcriptional mapping technologies developed in the field of molecular biology, such as differential mRNA display and DNA microarray hybridisations, it will be possible to perform a detailed molecular characterisation of the transcriptional events involved in drug actions in cellular and tissue systems, and information gathered from such types of analysis will lead to an enormous amount of data, from which detailed knowledge of drug actions at the gene regulatory level will emerge.
Keywords: Transcriptional control, Type 2 diabetes, Peroxisome proliferator activated receptors, Plasma free fatty acids, Diabetic patients
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