The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPARgamma) is a nuclear receptor that controls the expression of a large array of genes involved in adipocyte differentiation, lipid storage and insulin sensitization. PPARgamma is bound and activated by prostaglandin J2 and fatty acid derivatives, which are its natural ligands. In addition, thiazolidinediones and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are synthetic ligands and agonists of this receptor. Several studies have recently shown that this nuclear receptor has a role expanding beyond metabolism (diabetes and obesity) with functions in cell cycle control, carcinogenesis, inflammation and atherosclerosis. This review addresses the role of PPARgamma in these processes.