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J Immunol. 1999 Feb 1;162(3):1648-55.

Vascular endothelial cell expression of ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 at the onset of eliciting contact hypersensitivity in mice: evidence for a dominant role of TNF-alpha.

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British Heart Foundation Cardiovascular Medicine Unit, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College School of Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital, London, United Kingdom.


We have studied vascular endothelial activation and increased expression of ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 at the onset of the elicitation phase of oxazolone contact hypersensitivity in mice. By measuring the local uptake of i.v. administered radiolabeled anti-ICAM-1 and anti-VCAM-1 mAb, we found that endothelial ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 was increased by 4 h after challenge, 2 h later than the first peak of ear swelling and 125I-labeled human serum albumen uptake. Increased expression of endothelial ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 was significantly greater in sensitized animals than in naive animals. Anti-TNF-alpha antiserum significantly inhibited both the increase in ear thickness (p < 0.01), and the up-regulation of ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 expression (p < 0.01 for both) at 4 h. In contrast, the combination of anti-IL-1alpha and IL-1beta had only a small inhibitory effect on ICAM-1 expression (p < 0.05) and no significant effect on increased ear thickness or on VCAM-1 expression. A mixture of anti-TNF-alpha, anti-IL-1alpha, and IL-1beta was no more inhibitory for endothelial ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 expression than anti-TNF-alpha alone. ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 expression at 4 h was unaffected by a combination of mAb against alpha4 and beta2 integrins, whereas expression at 24 h was significantly inhibited (p < 0.05), suggesting that the release of TNF-alpha and other cytokines involved in the initiation of the response may not require leukocyte traffic or other leukocyte functions involving these integrins. We conclude that the early up-regulation of endothelial ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 during the elicitation of contact hypersensitivity is primarily due to the immune-dependent local release of TNF-alpha.

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