Proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) is a critical process for the development of atherosclerosis and complications of procedures used to treat atherosclerotic diseases, including postangioplasty restenosis, vein graft failure, and transplant vasculopathy. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) gamma is a member of the nuclear hormone receptor superfamily and the molecular target for the thiazolidinediones (TZD), used clinically to treat insulin resistance in patients with type 2 diabetes. In addition to their efficacy to improve insulin sensitivity, TZD exert a broad spectrum of pleiotropic beneficial effects on vascular gene expression programs. In SMCs, PPARgamma is prominently upregulated during neointima formation and suppresses the proliferative response to injury of the arterial wall. Among the molecular target genes regulated by PPARgamma in SMCs are genes encoding proteins involved in the regulation of cell-cycle progression, cellular senescence, and apoptosis. This inhibition of SMC proliferation is likely to contribute to the prevention of atherosclerosis and postangioplasty restenosis observed in animal models and proof-of-concept clinical studies. This review will summarize the transcriptional target genes regulated by PPARgamma in SMCs and outline the therapeutic implications of PPARgamma activation for the treatment and prevention of atherosclerosis and its complications.

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Published in PPAR Research, v. 2008, 429123.

© 2008 Florence Gizard and Dennis Bruemmer. This is an open access article distributed under theCreative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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