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Histochem Cell Biol. 1995 Nov;104(5):397-405.

Immunohistochemical evidence for loss of ICAM-1 by alveolar epithelial cells in pulmonary fibrosis.

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  • 1Institute of Pathology, Medical Faculty Carl Gustav Carus, Technical University of Dresden, Germany.


ICAM-1 is an intercellular adhesion molecule of the immunoglobulin supergene family involved in adherence of leukocytes to the endothelium and in leukocytic accumulation in pulmonary injury. In the current study, the antigen retrieval technique was used to detect ICAM-1 immunohistochemically in paraffin sections of lungs from human, mouse and rat as well as in bleomycin- or radiation-induced fibrotic lungs from rat and human. In normal lung tissue, the expression of ICAM-1 on alveolar type I epithelial cells is stronger than on alveolar macrophages and on endothelial cells. Preembedding immunoelectron microscopy of normal rat, mouse and human lung samples revealed selective ICAM-1 expression on the surface of type I alveolar epithelial cells and, to a lesser extent, on the pulmonary capillary endothelium and on alveolar macrophages. In fibrotic specimens, both focal lack and strengthening of immunostaining on the surface of type I cells was found. Alveolar macrophages were found focally lacking ICAM-1 immunoreactivity. In some cases, rat type II pneumocytes exhibited positive immunoreactions for ICAM-1. Immunoelectron microscopy with preembedded rat lungs (bleomycin-exposed cases) confirmed the altered ICAM-1 distribution at the alveolar epithelial surface. In the alveolar fluid of fibrotic rat lungs, in contrast to that from untreated controls, soluble ICAM-1 was detected by western blot analysis.

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