Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma), a fatty acid-activated nuclear receptor, is implicated in adipocyte differentiation and insulin sensitisation. In view of the association of dietary fat intake and bowel disease, the expression of PPARgamma in rodent and human intestine was studied. Expression of PPARgamma mRNA was examined by Northern blot hybridisation, RNase protection, and/or competitive RT-PCR assays, whereas PPARgamma protein levels were evaluated by immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry. PPARgamma mRNA and protein were abundantly expressed in colon relative to the small intestine both in rodents and in man. Interestingly, expression of PPARgamma was primarily localised in the more differentiated epithelial cells in the colon. The level of expression of PPARgamma in colon was similar to the levels seen in adipose tissue. Expression of PPARgamma increased from proximal to distal segments of the colon in man. In Caco-2 and HT-29 human adenocarcinoma cells, PPARgamma expression increased upon differentiation, consistent with PPARgamma being associated with a differentiated epithelial phenotype. High-level expression of PPARgamma was observed in the colon, but not in the small intestine, suggesting a potential role of this nuclear receptor in the colon.