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Attenuated aerobic exercise capacity in CD36 deficiency
  1. Hidekatsu Yanai1,
  2. Ichiro Watanabe2,
  3. Kojiro Ishii3,
  4. Mie Morimoto4,
  5. Hironobu Fujiwara1,
  6. Shigeru Yoshida4,
  7. Shu-Ping Hui5,
  8. Kazuhiko Matsuno4,
  9. Hitoshi Chiba1,4
  1. 1Department of Laboratory Medicine, Hokkaido University School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan
  2. 2Department of Rehabilitation Medicine and Physical Medicine, Hokkaido University School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan
  3. 3Laboratory of Human Performance and Fitness, Hokkaido University Graduate School of Education, Sapporo, Japan
  4. 4Department of Health Science, Hokkaido University School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan
  5. 5Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Health Sciences University of Hokkaido, Hokkaido, Japan
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Hidekatsu Yanai
 Department of Laboratory Medicine, Hokkaido University School of Medicine, Sapporo 060-8648, Japan; yanaih{at}


Background: An important role of CD36 in muscle fatty acid (FA) uptake has been shown in CD36-knockout or CD36-overexpressed mice. FA is a predominant substrate in energy production during light exercise below the anaerobic threshold (AT). We studied whether aerobic exercise capacity in humans could be affected by CD36 deficiency.

Methods: We investigated the ventilatory threshold (VT) and serum FA changes in normal participants (n = 22) and participants with CD36 deficiency (n = 12) during pedalling on a cycle ergometer.

Results: In participants with CD36 deficiency, FA levels were not reduced at peak work rate, whereas FA levels decreased by about 50% in normal participants. Participants with CD36 deficiency showed significantly lower VT than normal participants. A significant correlation was observed between VT and percentage changes in FA at peak work rate.

Conclusion: This study found reduced FA utilisation and an attenuated aerobic exercise capacity in CD36 deficiency, indicating that CD36-mediated FA oxidation is an important determinant for aerobic exercise capacity in humans.

  • AT, anaerobic threshold
  • CPT I, carnitine palmitoyltransferase I
  • FA, fatty-acid
  • UTR, untranslated region
  • VT, ventilatory threshold
  • CD36
  • anaerobic threshold
  • exercise
  • fatty acid

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  • Published Online First 5 April 2007

  • Competing interests: None declared.