Increased orosomucoid-like 3 (ORMDL3) expression levels, due to single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), have been associated with several inflammatory diseases, including asthma and inflammatory bowel diseases. ORMDL proteins inhibit serine palmitoyltransferase (SPT), the first rate-limiting enzyme in de novo sphingolipid synthesis and alter cellular calcium homeostasis. Both processes are essential for immune response. The present study addresses ORMDL3 protein involvement in macrophage physiology using an overexpressing knock-in mouse model. Ceramide content was notably different in the bone-marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM) from the transgenic mouse model compared with the wild type (WT) macrophages. Our data revealed an alteration of de novo production of sphinganine upon BMDM activation in the transgenic mouse. Gene-expression analysis showed that alteration in ORMDL3 expression levels did not affect activation or macrophage polarization. Nevertheless, we studied phagocytosis and autophagy—crucial processes that are dependent on lipid membrane composition. Phagocytosis in transgenic macrophages was not affected by ORMDL3 overexpression, but we did find a reduction in toll-like receptor 4 (TLR-4)-mediated autophagy. Both genetic and functional studies have pointed to autophagy as an essential pathway involved in inflammation. We believe that our work provides new insights into the functional link between ORMDL3 expression and inflammatory diseases.
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