Role of caveolin-3 in lymphocyte activation

Life Sci. 2015 Jan 15;121:35-9. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2014.11.017. Epub 2014 Dec 2.


Aims: 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.

Significance: 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.

Keywords: Cytokine; Immune system; Inflammation; Leukocyte; Signaling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caveolin 3 / genetics
  • Caveolin 3 / physiology*
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Immune System / physiology
  • Lymphocyte Activation / physiology*
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Caveolin 3
  • Cytokines