Researchers were recently able to find new links between obesity and cardiovascular disease. The study led by James A. Hamilton, PhD, professor of Physiology, Biophysics and Radiology at Boston University School of Medicine, applied novel methods to detect binding of fatty acids to CD36 and their effect on internalization of oxidized LDL.
Although other research groups have characterized a fatty acid binding site on CD36 and postulated CD36 to be a gatekeeper for fatty acid entry into cells, the Hamilton lab previously found that CD36 did not increase fatty acid translocation across the plasma membrane.
In the current study all of the common dietary fatty acid types (saturated, unsaturated, trans and polyunsaturated) were shown by a new assay to bind to CD36 at levels greater than expected for a single binding site characterized in previous studies.
According to the researchers, obesity and type 2 diabetes are characterized by high plasma levels of fatty acids, the demonstrated enhancement of oxLDL uptake by increases in common dietary fatty acids might contribute to the pathophysiology of these diseases.
The new results provided a link between fatty acids, CD36, and atherosclerosis and new drugs could be designed that target the exact mechanism more precisely, he further added. The study is published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.