CD36 Variants and Stroke Risk Factors

Latisha Love-Gregory, Ph.D.

Project Overview:
It is well documented that persistently high blood cholesterol and postprandial (after a meal) triglycerides are risk factors for cardiovascular complications. The aims of this study are to test impact of genetic variants in the CD36 gene, which encodes a protein that facilitates tissue uptake of fatty acids and lipoproteins, on individual susceptibility to abnormal blood lipids.

The preliminary data we recently obtained strongly support the concept that genetic variants in CD36 contribute to individual differences with respect to basal and postprandial cholesterol and triglycerides and to responsiveness to the lipid-lowering drug fenofibrate. The CD36 variants being considered in this study have relatively high frequency in the population (10%-45%) and include variants found to associate with the risk of stroke in a large population study.

We propose in the first aim to determine the impact of these variants on blood lipids before and after a fat meal and before and after treatment with fenofibrate. In the second aim, we will test the impact of these variants on the metabolism of immune cells isolated from carriers versus non-carriers.

The data generated will be used to submit an application to the National Institute of Health to fund translational studies that will extend the findings to examine impact of CD36 variants in the etiology of coronary disease. We propose that once functionally characterized, the CD36 variants could provide useful biomarkers for identifying individuals with high susceptibility to lipid abnormalities and associated diseases. Genetic biomarkers such as the CD36 variants can be helpful for early assessment of disease susceptibility and for optimizing preventive approaches that improve long-term health.