Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Moving Fat

CD36 – a molecule in the lymphatic vessel lining – is implicated in risk of obesity and diabetes

10 July 2021

Moving Fat

Unsurprisingly, when the body’s fat management systems falter, the risk of obesity rises. Type 2 diabetes is another potential outcome, so researchers are investigating how disruptions to fat transport in the lymphatic system – a network of vessels exchanging essential material around the body – are linked to disease. A study tested what happened when CD36 – a structure involved in fatty acid management – was removed from the linings of lymphatic vessels in mice, and found that junctions between cells were damaged (right, with misshaped cell adhesion molecules, green, compared to normal mice, left). Leaks in the system, accumulations of fatty deposits, and an intolerance to glucose resulted, all of which contribute to increased obesity and type 2 diabetes risk. The role of CD36 in these vessel linings is a new potential player in these conditions and others like cardiovascular disease, and further investigation might point to new treatment options.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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