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World J Gastroenterol. 2005 Aug 7;11(29):4566-9.

Circulating adhesion molecules in patients with virus-related chronic diseases of the liver.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine and Systemic Diseases, University of Catania, Italy.



In the inflammatory state, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and vascular cellular adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) play a key role in promoting migration of immunological cells from the circulation to target site. Aim of our study was to investigate soluble forms of these molecules in patients with virus-related chronic liver diseases, to assess their behavior in different pathologies and correlation with severity of liver damage.


Circulating ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 were assayed by EIA commercial kits (R and D System Co., Abington, UK) in 23 patients with chronic active hepatitis (CH), 50 subjects affected by liver cirrhosis (LC) and 15 healthy controls comparable for sex and age. In patients, serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) were also detected by autoanalyzer.


LC patients had significantly higher ICAM-1 values than CH patients (38.56+/-7.4 ng/mL vs 20.89+/-6.42 ng/mL; P < 0.001) and these ones had significantly higher values than controls (12.92+/-1.08 ng/mL; P < 0.001). In CH group, ICAM-1 levels were significantly related to inflammatory activity (P = 0.041) and ALT values (r = 0.77; P < 0.05). VCAM-1 values were significantly increased only in LC patients (P < 0.001) and related to severity of liver impairment.


These findings suggest that the determination of serum ICAM-1 can be considered as an additional useful marker of hepatocellular necrosis and inflammatory activity in chronic hepatitis, while serum VCAM-1 is an indicator of liver fibrogenesis and severity of disease in cirrhosis.

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