Purpose: Intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) is a cell surface glycoprotein that binds leukocyte function antigen-1 receptor on leukocytes, thereby regulating leukocyte trafficking and function at sites of inflammation. Recently, the authors demonstrated ICAM-1 in human corneas exposed to proinflammatory cytokines, but ICAM-1 has not been reported in corneal disease. In this study, the presence of ICAM-1 in human disciform herpes simplex virus (HSV) keratitis is investigated.
Methods: Immunohistochemistry was performed for ICAM-1 on 4 keratoplasty specimens from patients with corneal scarring due to disciform HSV keratitis and 1 corneoscleral biopsy of a patient with active HSV keratoscleritis using specific, characterized monoclonal antibody to ICAM-1. Negative immunohistochemical controls included monoclonal antibodies to other vascular endothelial adhesion molecules or mouse serum.
Results: All 5 specimens demonstrated intense ICAM-1 immunoreactivity of keratinocytes, stromal keratocytes, and endothelial cells, predominantly in regions of leukocytic infiltration. Diffuse, intense HLA-DR positivity was detected throughout the corneas. The specimens failed to react with control antibodies.
Conclusion: These results are the first to demonstrate ICAM-1 in human corneal disease and suggest important roles for ICAM-1 and HLA-DR co-expression in generating immune responses in HSV keratitis. Increased ICAM-1 expression in regions of leukocytic infiltration may regulate leukocyte-corneal cell binding, thereby promoting immune responses and damage by activated leukocytes.