PPAR-γ – a possible drug target for complicated pregnancies

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Peroxisome proliferator activated receptors (PPARs) are ligand-activated transcription factors expressed in trophoblasts, which regulate both cell differentiation and proliferation. In recent years, evidence has linked PPARs to playing an integral role in pregnancy; specifically, PPAR-β and PPAR-γ have been shown to play an integral role in placentation, with PPAR-γ additionally serving to regulate trophoblast differentiation. Recent evidence has shown that PPAR-γ expression is altered in many complications of pregnancy such as intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), preterm birth, pre-clampsia and gestational diabetes. Thus, at present, accumulating evidence from the literature suggests both a pivotal role for PPAR-γ in the progression of a healthy pregnancy and the possibility that PPAR-γ may act as a therapeutic target in complicated pregnancies. This review aims to provide a succinct and comprehensive assessment of the role of PPAR-γ in normal pregnancy and pregnancy complications, and finally its potential as a therapeutic target in the treatment and/or prevention of adverse pregnancy outcomes.

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