Long-chain fatty acids (LCFA) are the major energy substrate for heart and their oxidation is important for achieving maximal cardiac work. However, the mechanism of uptake of LCFA by myocardium has not been clarified. We previously reported that bovine myocardial LCFA transporter has a sequence homology to human CD36. Clinically, total defect of myocardial uptake of radiolabeled long-chain fatty acid analog [123I-BMIPP: Iodine-123 15-(p-iodophenyl)-(R,S)-methylpentadecanoic acid] has been reported in some restricted cases, but the etiology has not been clarified. In the present study, we analyzed CD36 expression and CD36 gene in subjects who showed total lack of myocardial 123I-BMIPP accumulation, and, vice versa, evaluated myocardial 123I-BMIPP uptake in subjects with CD36 deficiency. Four unrelated subjects were evaluated, Two were found to have negative myocardial LCFA accumulation by 123I-BMIPP scintigraphy, after which the expression of CD36 on their platelets and monocytes was analyzed. Remaining two subjects were identified as CD36 deficiency by screening, then 123I-BMIPP scintigraphy was performed. Expression of CD36 on platelets and monocytes was measured by flow cytometric analysis. The molecular defects responsible for CD36 deficiency was detected by allele-specific restriction enzyme analysis. CD36 expression was totally deficient in all 4 subjects on both platelets and monocytes. Two subjects were homozygous for a 478C-->T mutation. One was heterozygous for the dinucleotide deletion of exon V and single nucleotide insertion of exon X, and remaining one was considered to be heterozygous for the dinucleotide deletion of exon V and an unknown gene abnormality. All cases demonstrated a completely negative accumulation of myocardial LCFA despite of normal myocardial perfusion, which was evaluated by thallium scintigraphy. In addition, all cases demonstrated apparently normal hepatic LCFA accumulation Thus, these findings suggested that CD36 acts as a major myocardial specific LCFA transporter in humans.