Endothelial cell CD36 deficiency prevents normal angiogenesis and vascular repair

Lara Bou Khzam, Ni Huiping Son, Adam E. Mullick, Nada A. Abumrad, Ira J. Goldberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Endothelial cells (ECs) maintain vascular integrity and mediate vascular repair and angiogenesis, by which new blood vessels are formed from pre-existing blood vessels. Hyperglycemia has been shown to increase EC angiogenic potential. However, few studies have investigated effects of fatty acids (FAs) on EC angiogenesis. Cluster of differentiation 36 (CD36) is a FA transporter expressed by ECs, but its role in EC proliferation, migration, and angiogenesis is unknown. We sought to determine if circulating FAs regulate angiogenic function in a CD36-dependent manner. CD36-dependent effects of FAs on EC proliferation and migration of mouse heart ECs (MHECs) and lung ECs (MLECs) were studied. We used both silencing RNA and antisense oligonucleotides to reduce CD36 expression. Oleic acid (OA) did not affect EC proliferation, but significantly increased migration of ECs in wound healing experiments. CD36 knockdown prevented OA-induced increases in wound healing potential. In EC transwell migration experiments, OA increased recruitment and migration of ECs, an effect abolished by CD36 knockdown. Phospho-AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) increased in MHECs exposed to OA in a CD36-dependent manner. To test whether in vivo CD36 affects angiogenesis, we studied 21-day recovery in post-hindlimb ischemia. EC-specific CD36 knockout mice had reduced blood flow recovery as assessed by laser Doppler imaging. EC content in post-ischemic muscle, assessed from CD31 expression, increased in ischemic muscle of control mice. However, mice with EC-specific CD36 deletion lacked the increase in CD31 and matrix metalloprotease 9 expression observed in controls. EC expression of CD36 and its function in FA uptake modulate angiogenic function and response to ischemia, likely due to reduced activation of the AMPK pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7737-7761
Number of pages25
JournalAmerican Journal of Translational Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2021


  • Angiogenesis
  • Endothelium
  • Ischemia
  • Lipids
  • Peripheral vascular disease


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