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Trends Cardiovasc Med. 2005 Apr;15(3):92-6.

Caveolae, lipid rafts, and vascular disease.

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  • 1University of Kentucky Medical School, Department of Pediatrics, Lexington, 40536-0230, USA.


Caveolae and lipid rafts are discrete regions within the plasma membrane that coordinate and regulate a variety of signaling processes. The exact relationship between caveolae and lipid rafts is unclear. However, caveolae contain a protein called caveolin that serves as a biochemical marker for caveolae. In addition, caveolin plays a role in maintaining the lipid composition of caveolae, the morphology of caveolae, and the signals that emanate from caveolae. The physiologic importance of caveolae is evidenced by recent studies using caveolin knockout mice that show dramatic abnormalities in the cardiovascular system, such as pulmonary hypertension and cardiac hypertrophy. In this review, we will focus on the role of caveolae in the cardiovascular system.

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