Macrophage apoptosis is an important factor in determining the efficiency of the immune response, atherosclerotic lesion stability, and clearance of aged cells by phagocytosis. The involvement of caveolin-1 in the regulation of apoptosis has been previously suggested in fibroblasts and epithelial cells. Here we show that treatment of thioglycollate-elicited mouse peritoneal macrophages with various unrelated apoptotic agents, including simvastatin, camptothecin, or glucose deprivation, is associated with a specific and large increase in caveolin-1 expression. In contrast, caveolin-2 levels remain unaffected. Induction of apoptosis was measured by changes in cell morphology, annexin V-labeling, and DNA fragmentation. We demonstrate that caveolin-1 in macrophages is present in lipid rafts and colocalizes with phosphatidylserine (PS) at the cell surface of apoptotic macrophages. Our data suggest that caveolin-1 increase is an early event, closely accompanied by PS externalization and independent of caspase activation and nuclear DNA fragmentation. The increase in caveolin-1 levels does not require new protein synthesis, as cycloheximide does not prevent the apoptosis-mediated increase in caveolin-1 levels. We propose that increased levels of caveolin-1 characterize the apoptotic phenotype of macrophages. Caveolin-1 may be involved in the efficient externalization of PS at the surface of the apoptotic cells.-Gargalovic, P., and L. Dory. Cellular apoptosis is associated with increased caveolin-1 expression in macrophages.
- Lipid raft
- Membrane phospholipids