CD36 is a membrane glycoprotein that is present on various types of cells, including monocytes, macrophages, microvascular endothelial cells, adipocytes and platelets. Macrophage CD36 participates in atherosclerotic arterial lesion formation through its interaction with oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL), which triggers signaling cascades for inflammatory responses. CD36 functions in oxLDL uptake and foam cell formation, which is the initial critical stage of atherosclerosis. In addition, oxLDL via CD36 inhibits macrophage migration, which may be a macrophage-trapping mechanism in atherosclerotic lesions. The role of CD36 was examined in in vitro studies and in vivo experiments, which investigated various functions of CD36 in atherosclerosis and revealed that CD36 deficiency reduces atherosclerotic lesion formation. Platelet CD36 also promotes atherosclerotic inflammatory processes and is involved in thrombus formation after atherosclerotic plaque rupture. Because CD36 is an essential component of atherosclerosis, defining the function of CD36 and its corresponding signaling pathway may lead to a new treatment strategy for atherosclerosis.