Role of caveolin-1 and caveolae signaling in endotoxemia and sepsis

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Caveolae, plasma membrane invaginations of 60–80 nm in diameter, are a subset of lipid rafts enriched in cholesterol and sphingolipids. Caveolae are expressed in various tissues and cell types, such as endothelial cells, macrophages, neutrophils and adipocytes. The functions of caveolae are diverse and include endocytosis, transcytosis, potocytosis, calcium signaling, and regulation of various signaling events. Although growing evidence has increased our understanding of caveolae function, the role of caveolae in sepsis is still a controversial issue. In this review, we present a number of studies addressing caveolae and sepsis and describe the signaling pathways involved, including the LPS-eNOS-TLR4-NFκB, MKK3/p38 MAPK, cPLA2/p38 MAPK, STAT3/NFκB and IL-1β-IL-1R1 pathways. Different studies using endotoxemia and bacteremia animal models have provided distinct conclusions about the function of caveolae, and we discuss these inconsistencies. Taken together, the current data suggest that the function of caveolae in sepsis, which involves a number of signaling pathways, is complex and warrants further studies.

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