Role of CD36 in membrane transport and utilization of long-chain fatty acids by different tissues

J Mol Neurosci. Apr-Jun 2001;16(2-3):117-21; discussion 151-7. doi: 10.1385/JMN:16:2-3:117.


The transmembrane glycoprotein CD36 has been identified in isolated cell studies as a putative transporter of long-chain fatty acids. To examine the physiological role of CD36, we studied FA uptake and metabolism by tissues of CD36 null mice after injection with two fatty acid analogs. Compared to controls, uptake was substantially reduced (50-80%) in heart, skeletal muscle, and adipose tissues of null mice. The reduction in uptake was associated with a large decrease in fatty acid incorporation into triglycerides, which could be accounted for by an accumulation of diacylglycerides. Thus CD36 facilitates a major fraction of fatty acid uptake by myocardial, skeletal muscle, and adipose tissues, where it is highly expressed. Its role in other tissues where its expression is low and cell-specific could not be determined in these studies.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Animals, Congenic
  • Biological Transport
  • Blood Platelets / metabolism
  • Brain / metabolism
  • CD36 Antigens / genetics
  • CD36 Antigens / physiology*
  • Cell Membrane Permeability / physiology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / genetics
  • Hypertension / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance / genetics
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / deficiency
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Organ Specificity
  • Organic Anion Transporters / deficiency
  • Organic Anion Transporters / genetics
  • Organic Anion Transporters / physiology*
  • Quantitative Trait, Heritable
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred SHR
  • Triglycerides / metabolism


  • CD36 Antigens
  • Fatty Acids
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Organic Anion Transporters
  • Triglycerides