In a paper accepted on Dec. 31, 2011, for The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s Journal of Lipid Research, researchers report on the fatty acid translocase gene CD36 may have an impact on people’s cravings for fatty foods.
The article, titled “The fatty acid translocase gene, CD36, and lingual lipase influence oral sensitivity to fat in obese subjects” and authored by Nada A. Abumrad, Samuel Klein, Latisha Love-Gregory and Marta Yanina Pepino, notes that the researchers “evaluated whether a common SNP (rs1761667) in the CD36 gene that reduces CD36 expression and the addition of orlistat, a lipase inhibitor, to reduce fatty acids release from triacylglycerols, the main component of dietary fats, would attenuate fat orosensory sensitivity in humans.” This would influence people’s preference for fatty foods as it affects how fat is sensed in the mouth. Previously, fat perception has been thought to be based on only aromatics and textures.
For the study, 21 obese subjects with different rs1761667 genotypes were studied on two occasions, measuring the oleic acid and triolein orosensory detection thresholds using emulsions prepared with and without orlistat. In the results, the researchers found “the subjects homozygous for the G-allele had eightfold lower oral detection thresholds for oleic acid and triolein than subjects homozygous for the A allele, which associates with lower CD36 expression (P=0.03). Addition of the orlistat increased detection thresholds to triolein but not oleic acid.” This means those subjects who made more of the CD36 protein were that much more sensitive to the fat content.
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