In mammals, the liver is the major organ of fatty acid catabolism. This pathway is involved in both mitochondria and peroxisome.
While mitochondria breaks down fatty acids with short, medium and long carbon chains, peroxisomes are involved in the catabolism
of very long and branched chain fatty acids, which are degraded by three enzymes: acyl-CoA oxidase, multifunctional enzyme and
thiolase enzyme. The active pathway results mainly from a tight transcriptional control of these gene-encoding enzymes. Two major nuclear
receptors that are highly expressed in this organ are involved in this control, e.g. PPARα (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor,
α isoform) and HNF4α (hepatic nuclear factor 4, α isotype). Both are key regulators of liver lipid metabolism. While numerous papers
have reported on the role of PPARα in liver lipid homeostasis, less is known on the implication of HNF4α in this metabolism.
Moreover, very few studies have taken an interest in the important question of the implication of these two receptors and most particularly
their crosstalk. This review therefore presents the current knowledge on the PPARα/HNF4α interplay in diversified DNA responsive
elements and its relevance in the regulation fatty acid catabolism. It presents a review of the properties of the nuclear receptors
PPARα and HNF4α, then the genes regulated by HNF4α and PPARα, particularly the peroxisomal enzyme target genes. To conclude,
the consequences of the regulation of these genes in the liver by PPARα and HNF4α will be analyzed. The current data indicate the requirement
of PPARα and HNF4α for regulation in the liver of peroxisomal and mitochondrial fatty acid β-oxidation, cholesterol and bile
acid metabolism, lipoprotein metabolism and consequently the prevention of liver steatosis. However, several questions remain unsolved.
To show the interplay of PPARα and HNF4α in the regulation of liver fatty acid metabolism, different strategies are proposed.