Role of caveolin-3 in lymphocyte activation

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Caveolins are structural proteins clustered in lipid-rich regions of plasma membrane involved in coordinating signal transduction in various organ systems. While caveolin-1 (Cav-1) has been shown to regulate lymphocyte activation, the role of caveolin-3 (Cav-3) in immune system signaling has not been investigated. We tested the hypothesis that Cav-3 modulates lymphocyte activation.

Main methods

Lymphocyte/leukocyte subpopulations from WT and Cav-3 mice were profiled with flow cytometry. Cytokine production in quiescent and activated splenocytes from WT and Cav-3 mice was assessed with ELISA.

Key findings

Levels of T-cells, monocytes, and natural killer cells were not different between WT and KO mice, however KO mice had lower B-cell population-percentage. Functionally, activated lymphocytes from Cav-3 KO mice demonstrated significantly reduced expression of IL-2 compared to WT, while expression of TNFα, IL-6, and IL-10 was not different. Finally, expression of IL-17 was significantly reduced in T-helper cells from KO mice, while IFNγ was not, suggesting that Cav-3 is a determinant in the development of the Th-17 subpopulation.


This study is the first to demonstrate that Cav-3 may be a novel participant in B-cell expression, T-cell cytokine production and activation of inflammation.

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