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Microsc Res Tech. 2002 Jun 1;57(5):350-64.

Structure and function of endothelial caveolae.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0651, USA.


Caveolae are spherical invaginations of the plasma membrane and associated vesicles that are found at high surface densities in most cells, endothelia included. Their structural framework has been shown to consist of oligomerized caveolin molecules interacting with cholesterol and sphingolipids. Caveolae have been involved in many cellular functions such as endocytosis, signal transduction, mechano-transduction, potocytosis, and cholesterol trafficking. Some confusion still persists in the field with respect to the relationship between caveolae and the lipid rafts, which have been involved in many of the above functions. In addition to all these, endothelial caveolae have been involved in capillary permeability by their participation in the process of transcytosis. This short review will focus on their structure and components, methods used to determine these components, and the role of caveolae in the transendothelial exchanges between blood plasma and the interstitial fluid.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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