Mechanism linking atherosclerosis and type 2 diabetes: increased expression of scavenger receptor CD36 in monocytes

Chin Med J (Engl). 2005 Oct 20;118(20):1717-22.


Background: We investigated the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis in diabetes, and detected the expression of scavenger receptor CD36 in monocytes in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Methods: According to the criteria by WHO, diabetic patients were classified into two groups: well controlled diabetic patients (WCP) and poorly controlled diabetic patients (PCP). The expression of CD36 protein and mRNA were evaluated by flow cytometry and reversal transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Plasma levels of accumulation of oxidized LDL (oxLDL) were directly measured by sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) method.

Results: Flow cytometry and RT-PCR showed that the mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) of CD36 in monocyte and CD36 mRNA were significantly higher in the PCP and WCP in comparison with healthy controls (P<0.01). CD36 MFI and mRNA in the PCP were increased by 78% and 36% compared to the WCP. In both groups, CD36 MFI and mRNA were significantly higher in patients with diabetic atherosclerosis in comparison with those without diabetic atherosclerosis (P<0.05). No significant difference was found in CD14 expression between the groups (P>0.05). The concentrations of plasma oxLDL were higher in the PCP group compared to WCP and control group (P<0.05), whereas oxLDL average values did not differ significantly between WCP and control groups (P>0.05). In the WCP and PCP groups, oxLDL levels were higher in patients with diabetic atherosclerosis than those without diabetic atherosclerosis (P<0.05).

Conclusions: The increased expression of scavenger receptor CD36 may be one of the mechanism of accelerated atherosclerosis in diabetic. The poorly controlled diabetes patients are at higher risk for the vascular complications than the well controlled diabetic patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Atherosclerosis / etiology*
  • CD36 Antigens / genetics*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / analysis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monocytes / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Regression Analysis


  • CD36 Antigens
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • RNA, Messenger
  • oxidized low density lipoprotein