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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2010 Jul;1801(7):702-10. doi: 10.1016/j.bbalip.2010.04.001. Epub 2010 Apr 9.

Cholesterol increases adhesion of monocytes to endothelium by moving adhesion molecules out of caveolae.

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Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, Key Laboratory of Molecular Cardiovascular Sciences of Education Ministry, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing 100091, China.


Caveolae and its structural protein caveolin-1 (Cav-1) are abundant in vascular endothelial cells (ECs). We examined whether caveolae are involved in monocyte adhesion to ECs responding to a synergy of hypercholesterolemia and inflammation. Treating human umbilical vein ECs with cholesterol enhanced endotoxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced monocyte adhesion. Use of isolated caveolae-enriched membranes revealed that cell adhesion molecules (CAMs), including intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), co-localized with Cav-1 in caveolae. LPS upregulated CAMs expression and increased the co-localization. Cholesterol exposure decreased the level of CAMs in the caveolae. Co-immunoprecipitation and confocal microscopy revealed that ICAM-1 interacted with Cav-1. Electron microscopy showed that ICAM-1 was mainly located in caveolae. Cholesterol exposure decreased this interaction and drove ICAM-1 out of caveolae. Knockdown of Cav-1 reduced the synergistic effects of cholesterol and inflammation. In vivo, ICAM-1 and Cav-1 co-localization was lower in the aortic endothelium of ApoE(-)(/)(-) mice than in that of wild-type controls. Cav-1 negatively regulates monocyte adhesion by the co-localization of CAMs in caveolae, which is disturbed by cholesterol. Thus, our study suggests a molecular basis underlying the synergistic effects of hypercholesterolemia and inflammation in atherogenesis.

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