Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) are transcription factors involved in the regulation of numerous metabolic processes. The PPARα isotype is abundant in liver and activated by fasting. However, it is not very clear what other nutritional conditions activate PPARα. To examine whether PPARα mediates the effects of chronic high-fat feeding, wild-type and PPARα null mice were fed a low-fat diet (LFD) or high-fat diet (HFD) for 26 wk. HFD and PPARα deletion independently increased liver triglycerides. Furthermore, in wild-type mice HFD was associated with a significant increase in hepatic PPARα mRNA and plasma free fatty acids, leading to a PPARα-dependent increase in expression of PPARα marker genes CYP4A10 and CYP4A14. Microarray analysis revealed that HFD increased hepatic expression of characteristic PPARα target genes involved in fatty acid oxidation in a PPARα-dependent manner, although to a lesser extent than fasting or Wy14643. Microarray analysis also indicated functional compensation for PPARα in PPARα null mice. Remarkably, in PPARα null mice on HFD, PPARγ mRNA was 20-fold elevated compared with wild-type mice fed a LFD, reaching expression levels of PPARα in normal mice. Adenoviral overexpression of PPARγ in liver indicated that PPARγ can up-regulate genes involved in lipo/adipogenesis but also characteristic PPARα targets involved in fatty acid oxidation. It is concluded that 1) PPARα and PPARα-signaling are activated in liver by chronic high-fat feeding; and 2) PPARγ may compensate for PPARα in PPARα null mice on HFD.
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