The fatty acid transporter FAT/CD36 is upregulated in subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissues in human obesity and type 2 diabetes.Int J Obes (Lond) 2006; 30(6):877-83IJ
Long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs) cross the plasma membrane via a protein-mediated mechanism involving one or more LCFA-binding proteins. Among these, FAT/CD36 has been identified as key LCFA transporter in the heart and skeletal muscle, where it is regulated acutely and chronically by insulin. In skeletal muscle, FAT/CD36 expression and/or subcellular distribution is altered in obesity and type 2 diabetes. There is limited information as to whether the expression of this protein is also altered in subcutaneous and/or visceral adipose tissue depots in human obesity or type 2 diabetes.
To compare (a) the expression of FAT/CD36 in subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue depots in lean, overweight, and obese individuals and in type 2 diabetics, (b) to determine whether the protein expression of FAT/CD36 in these depots is associated with the severity of insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes>obese>overweight/lean) and (c) whether FAT/CD36 protein expression in these adipose tissue depots is associated with alterations in circulating substrates and hormones.
Subjects who were undergoing abdominal surgery and who were lean (n=10; three men, seven women), overweight (n=10; three men, seven women) or obese (n=7; one man, six women), or who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes (n=5; one man, four women) participated in this study.
Subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue samples, as well as blood samples, were obtained from the subjects while under general anesthesia. Adipose tissue samples were analyzed for FAT/CD36 using Western blotting. Serum samples were analyzed for glucose, insulin, FFA and leptin. BMI was also calculated.
Subcutaneous adipose tissue FAT/CD36 expression was upregulated by +58, +76 and +150% in overweight, obese and type 2 diabetics, respectively. Relative to subcutaneous adipose tissue, visceral adipose tissue FAT/CD36 expression was upregulated in lean (+52%) and overweight subjects (+30%). In contrast, in obese subjects and type 2 diabetics, no difference in FAT/CD36 protein expression was observed between their subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue depots (P>0.05). The subcutaneous adipose tissue FAT/CD36 expression (R=0.85) and the visceral adipose tissue FAT/CD36 expression (R=0.77) were associated with alteration in BMI and circulating glucose and insulin.
Subcutaneous adipose tissue FAT/CD36 expression is upregulated in obesity and type 2 diabetes. As FAT/CD36 expression is not different in lean, overweight and obese subjects, and was only increased in type 2 diabetics, it appears that visceral adipose tissue FAT/CD36 may respond in a less dynamic manner to metabolic disturbances than subcutaneous adipose tissue FAT/CD36.