Indexed on: 17 Jul '13Published on: 17 Jul '13Published in: Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.)
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) are transcription factors that belong to the superfamily of nuclear hormone receptors and regulate the expression of several genes involved in metabolic processes that are potentially linked to the development of some diseases such as hyperlipidemia, diabetes, and obesity. One type of PPAR, PPAR-α, is a transcription factor that regulates the metabolism of lipids, carbohydrates, and amino acids and is activated by ligands such as polyunsaturated fatty acids and drugs used to treat dyslipidemias. There is evidence that genetic variants within the PPARα gene have been associated with a risk of the development of dyslipidemia and cardiovascular disease by influencing fasting and postprandial lipid concentrations; the gene variants have also been associated with an acceleration of the progression of type 2 diabetes. The interactions between genetic PPARα variants and the response to dietary factors will help to identify individuals or populations who can benefit from specific dietary recommendations. Interestingly, certain nutritional conditions, such as the prolonged consumption of a protein-restricted diet, can produce long-lasting effects on PPARα gene expression through modifications in the methylation of a specific locus surrounding the PPARα gene. Thus, this review underlines our current knowledge about the important role of PPAR-α as a mediator of the metabolic response to nutritional and environmental factors.