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JV Lopez-Liuchi and CA Meier

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A Gorla-Bajszczak, C Siegrist-Kaiser, O Boss, AG Burger and CA Meier

OBJECTIVE: Examination of the pattern of expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) isoforms alpha and gamma in a model of obesity. DESIGN: Examination of adipose tissue and primary adipocyte cultures from lean and obese Zucker rats at different ages (28 days and 12 weeks). METHODS: mRNA levels were measured by RNase protection assay.RESULTS: The highest levels of PPARalpha and gamma mRNA were present in brown adipose tissue (BAT), followed by liver and white adipose tissue (WAT) for the alpha and gamma subtypes, respectively, at both ages examined. PPARalpha was expressed 100-fold higher in BAT compared with WAT, and PPARgamma mRNA levels were 2-fold higher in the WAT of obese compared with lean rats. PPARalpha and gamma expression was minimal in m. soleus, although higher levels of PPARgamma were found in the diaphragm. In marked contrast to the findings in vivo, virtually no PPARalpha mRNA could be detected in BAT cultures differentiated in vitro. CONCLUSION: PPARalpha and gamma are most highly expressed in BAT in vivo. However, PPARalpha is undetectable in brown adipose cells in vitro, suggesting that the expression of this receptor is induced by some external stimuli. In addition, the expression of PPARgamma was increased in WAT from young obese animals, compatible with an early adaptive phenomenon. Finally, the presence of PPARgamma mRNA is detectable only in particular muscles, such as the diaphragm, suggesting the possibility of an influence of fiber type on its expression, although exercise did not influence the expression of PPARgamma in other skeletal muscles.