Leukocyte adhesion molecules are important in cell-cell interactions of the immune system. Lymphocyte function-associated antigen 1 (cluster designation 11a) mediates interactions between T cells and mononuclear phagocytes through its ligand, the intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (CD54), whereas complement receptors 3 (CD lib) and 4 (CD11c) are involved in complement-mediated phagocytosis. Expression of CDU molecules and intercellular adhesion molecule 1 was studied in colonic biopsy specimens from 20 patients with inflammatory bowel disease and 10 normal controls. In normal colon, few mononuclear phagocytes expressed lymphocyte function-associated antigen 1 and intercellular adhesion molecule 1 at high densities. The major adhesion molecule was CD11c. Thus, the largest population of normal colonie mononuclear phagocytes was represented by quiescent, resident macrophages with likely phagocytic function. In inflammatory bowel disease, mononuclear phagocytes showed only a slight increase in CD11a expression and no significant change in expression of CD11b and CD11c. By contrast, the percentage of mononuclear phagocytes expressing intercellular adhesion molecule 1 was increased from 6.9% ± 3.9% in controls to 69.2% ±12.8% in ulcerative colitis (P < 0.001) and to 45.7% ±22.8% in Crohn's disease (P < 0.01), showing a close relationship with histological activity. The increased expression of intercellular adhesion molecule 1 in inflammatory bowel disease indicates a state of immunological activation induced by local release of inflammatory cytokines. Such induction of intercellular adhesion molecule 1 on mononuclear phagocytes may be important in the maintenance of chronic inflammation by facilitating interactions with T cells and T-cell antigen recognition.
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