Inhaled corticosteroids are the most effective therapy for chronic persistent asthma and have a role in the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, corticosteroids have reduced efficacy in some patients with asthma and fail to halt the progressive deterioration in lung function characteristic of COPD. Additional or alternative drug treatments to corticosteroids are required to improve control of inflammation in patients with therapy resistant airway disease. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPAR-γ) agonists have displayed potent anti-inflammatory properties in experimental models of asthma and other airway diseases and as a result have the potential to become an additional treatment for asthma and COPD. We review the evidence from these experimental models and their applicability to asthma and COPD and the requirements for future clinical and experimental research.