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Immunol Rev. 1990 Apr;114:67-108.

Leukocyte-cell adhesion: a molecular process fundamental in leukocyte physiology.

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Dept. of Immunology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


Leukocyte-cell adhesion is a form of physical contact characterized by fast (firm) stickiness between the cells. To analyze the biology and molecular basis of this process, an adhesion-specific assay was developed: the phorbol ester-induced aggregation of human lymphocytes. This rapid and antigen-independent intercellular adhesion requires cellular metabolism, an intact cytoskeleton and extracellular divalent cations, and is mediated by preformed cell-surface proteins referred to as CAMs. Phorbol ester also induces aggregation of monocytes and granulocytes, as well as adhesion of T lymphocytes to either B cells or monocytes and of the leukocytes to vascular endothelial cells. By using the adhesion-specific assay and blocking monoclonal antibodies, several CAMs have been identified, namely the Leu-CAM family (CD11a-c/CD18) and ICAM-1 (CD54). The Leu-CAM family is composed of Leu-CAMa (CD11a/CD18), Leu-CAMb (CD11b/CD18) and Leu-CAMc (CD11c/CD18), three glycoprotein heterodimers made of a common beta-chain and distinct alpha-chains. ICAM-1 is an adhesive ligand for Leu-CAMa. Expression and use of the various CAMs is selective in different types of leukocytes. The Leu-CAMs have been purified and partially characterized. CD18, whose gene is on human chromosome 21, contains 5-6 N-linked complex-type oligosaccharides, and CD11 binds Ca++. Another adhesion pathway is mediated by CD2 and CD58. CD2, a glycoprotein selectively expressed by T cells, is a receptor for CD58, a cell-surface adhesive ligand with broad tissue distribution. Antibodies to the latter CAMs do not block the phorbol ester-induced lymphocyte aggregation. Adhesion is involved in a large variety of leukocyte functions. Anti-Leu-CAM antibodies block induction of IL-2 production and lymphocyte proliferation. Lymphocyte-mediated cytotoxicity is also inhibited. Endogenous NK and LAK cells use Leu-CAMs, ICAM-1 and CD2, and sometimes RGD receptors, to bind and kill tumor cells. Endogenous compounds such as H2O2 and LTB4 also induce Leu-CAM-dependent adhesion in monocytoid cells and granulocytes, respectively, and degranulation of the latter cells is enhanced by the adhesion process. Homologous CAMs have been identified in rabbit and mouse. In in vivo studies in the former species, anti-Leu-CAM antibodies block adhesion of leukocytes to vascular endothelium and thereby their migration into extravascular tissues. The antibodies thus inhibit granulocyte accumulation and plasma leakage in inflammatory lesions, and induce lympho- and granulocytosis, indicating that cell-adhesion contributes to the distribution of leukocytes in the body.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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