The identification of caveolin-1 more than a decade ago initiated active research into its role in the formation of caveolae, membrane trafficking, signal transduction pathways, and lipid homeostasis. Although caveolins are ubiquitously expressed, the majority of the available information comes from differentiated cells rich in caveolins, such as fibroblasts, adipocytes, and endothelial cells. During the development of atherosclerosis, macrophages play a pivotal role in the formation of the fatty streak lesions. They take up large amounts of lipids and accumulate in the subendothelial space, forming foam cells that fill up the lesion area. Since caveolins have been implicated in the regulation of cellular cholesterol metabolism in several cell types, it is of interest to examine their potential function in macrophages. In this review, we attempt to summarize current knowledge and views on the role of caveolins in cholesterol metabolism with emphasis on macrophages.
- Cholesterol transport
- Lipid rafts