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

Chenglai Fu, Jinlong He, Chenghong Li, John Y.J. Shyy, Yi Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)702-710
Number of pages9
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Caveolae
  • Cholesterol
  • Endothelial
  • ICAM-1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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