Fatty acid activation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)

Carlos Bocos, Martin Göttlicher, Katy Gearing, Carol Banner, Eva Enmark, Michèle Teboul, Anja Crickmore, Jan Åke Gustaffson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


Peroxisome proliferators such as clofibric acid, nafenopin, and WY-14,643 have been shown to activate peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR), a member of the steroid nuclear receptor superfamily. We have cloned the cDNA from rat that is homologous to that from mouse, which encodes a 97% similar protein. To search for physiologically occurring activators, we established a transcriptional transaction assay by stably expressing in CHO cells a chimera of rat PPAR and the human glucocorticoid receptor that activates expression of the placental alkaline phosphatase reporter gene under the control of the mouse mammary tumor virus promoter. 150 μM concentrations of arachidonic or linoleic acid but not of dehydroepiandrosterone, cholesterol, or 25-hydroxy-cholesterol, activated the receptor chimera. In addition, saturated fatty acids induced the reporter gene. Shortening the chain length to n = 6 or introduction of an ω-terminal carboxylic group abolished the activation potential of the fatty acid. To test whether a common PPAR binding metabolite might be formed from free fatty acids we tested the effects of differentially β-oxidizable fatty acids and inhibitors of fatty acid metabolism. The peroxisomal proliferation-inducing, non-β-oxidizable, tetradecylthioacetic acid activated PPAR to the same extent as the strong peroxisomal proliferator WY-14,643, whereas the homologus β-oxidizable tetradecylthiopropionic acid was only as potent as a non-substituted fatty acid. Cyclooxygenase inhibitors, radical scavengers or cytochrome P450 inhibitors did not affect activation of PPAR. In conclusion, β-oxidation is apparently not required for the formation of the PPAR-activating molecule and this moiety might be a fatty acid, its ester with CoA, or a further derivative of the activated fatty acid prior to β-oxidation of the acyl-CoA ester.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-473
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number1-6
StatePublished - Jun 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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