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J Lipid Res. 2011 Apr;52(4):745-58. doi: 10.1194/jlr.M011981. Epub 2011 Jan 9.

Scavenger receptor CD36 mediates uptake of high density lipoproteins in mice and by cultured cells.

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University Hospital Hamburg Eppendorf Hamburg, Germany.


The mechanisms of HDL-mediated cholesterol transport from peripheral tissues to the liver are incompletely defined. Here the function of scavenger receptor cluster of differentiation 36 (CD36) for HDL uptake by the liver was investigated. CD36 knockout (KO) mice, which were the model, have a 37% increase (P = 0.008) of plasma HDL cholesterol compared with wild-type (WT) littermates. To explore the mechanism of this increase, HDL metabolism was investigated with HDL radiolabeled in the apolipoprotein (¹²⁵I) and cholesteryl ester (CE, [³H]) moiety. Liver uptake of [³H] and ¹²⁵I from HDL decreased in CD36 KO mice and the difference, i. e. hepatic selective CE uptake ([³H]¹²⁵I), declined (-33%, P = 0.0003) in CD36 KO compared with WT mice. Hepatic HDL holo-particle uptake (¹²⁵I) decreased (-29%, P = 0.0038) in CD36 KO mice. In vitro, uptake of ¹²⁵I-/[³H]HDL by primary liver cells from WT or CD36 KO mice revealed a diminished HDL uptake in CD36-deficient hepatocytes. Adenovirus-mediated expression of CD36 in cells induced an increase in selective CE uptake from HDL and a stimulation of holo-particle internalization. In conclusion, CD36 plays a role in HDL uptake in mice and by cultured cells. A physiologic function of CD36 in HDL metabolism in vivo is suggested.

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