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FASEB J. 1994 May;8(8):504-12.

Adhesion molecules and inflammatory injury.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia 19104.


Neutrophil-endothelial cell interactions are mediated by interacting sets of cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) and chemoattractant/activator molecules to form an "adhesion cascade." The initial phase of inflammation, a transient slowing of neutrophils in postcapillary venules, is mediated by selectins. Subsequently, firm adhesion of neutrophils to the vessel wall occurs via interaction of the CD11/CD18 (beta 2) integrins to endothelial ligands such as intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1). This binding requires activation of CD11/CD18 by exposure of the neutrophil to a variety of activating/chemoattractant molecules, such as platelet-activating factor or interleukin-8. Finally, transmigration into tissues occurs, a process that requires both a chemotactic stimulus and engagement of platelet-endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (PECAM-1). Several approaches have been used to probe the role of CAMs in vivo. These include the use of blocking antibodies, chimeric selectin-immunoglobulin proteins, sialyl Lewisx oligosaccharides and peptides, along with the study of humans and animals with genetically determined adhesion deficiencies. These studies demonstrate that CAM blockade can effectively inhibit inflammation; however, there appear to be clear differences in the adhesion requirements for particular types of inflammation. By understanding the CAM/chemoattractant profiles involved in specific disease states, it may be possible to precisely and effectively target therapy to a wide variety of inflammatory diseases.

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