The scavenger receptor CD36 plays a role in cytokine-induced macrophage fusion

Laura Helming, Julia Winter, Siamon Gordon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

110 Scopus citations


Multinucleated giant cells, characteristic of granulomatous infections, originate from the fusion of macrophages. Using an antibody screening strategy we found that the scavenger receptor CD36 participates in macrophage fusion induced by the cytokines IL-4 and GM-CSF. Our results demonstrate that exposure of phosphatidylserine on the cell surface and lipid recognition by CD36 are required for cytokine-induced fusion of macrophages. We also show that CD36 acts in a heterotypic manner during giant-cell formation and that the formation of osteoclasts is independent of CD36. The discovery of molecules involved in the formation of multinucleated giant cells will enable us to determine their functional significance. Furthermore, our results suggest that lipid capture by cell surface receptors may be a general feature of cell fusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-459
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - 15 02 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • CD36
  • IL-4
  • Macrophage fusion
  • Mouse
  • Multinucleated giant cell


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