Lysophosphatidylcholine, a component of atherogenic lipoproteins, induces mononuclear leukocyte adhesion molecules in cultured human and rabbit arterial endothelial cells

J Clin Invest. 1992 Sep;90(3):1138-44. doi: 10.1172/JCI115932.


Accumulation of monocyte-derived foam cells in focal areas of the arterial intima is one of the key events in early atherogenesis. We have examined the effect of lysophosphatidylcholine (lyso-PC; lysolecithin), a major phospholipid component of atherogenic lipoproteins, on the expression of adhesion molecules for monocytes, such as vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), in cultured human and rabbit arterial endothelial cells. Cultured rabbit aortic endothelial cells treated with lyso-PC showed increased mRNA and cell surface expression of VCAM-1 and ICAM-1, which was associated with increased adhesion of monocytes and monocyte-like cells (THP-1, U937). In cultured human iliac artery endothelial cells, lyso-PC similarly induced both VCAM-1 and ICAM-1, whereas in umbilical vein endothelial cells only ICAM-1 was up-regulated. In all endothelial cells examined, the effect of lyso-PC on E-selectin (endothelial-leukocyte adhesion molecule-1) expression was negligible, thus differentiating this stimulus from other endothelial activators, such as interleukin 1, tumor necrosis factor, or lipopolysaccharide. We conclude that lyso-PC can selectively induce VCAM-1 and ICAM-1 in arterial endothelial cells and that this action, in addition to its monocyte chemoattractant activity, may play an important role in monocyte recruitment into atherosclerotic lesions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arteriosclerosis / etiology*
  • Cell Adhesion / drug effects
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / biosynthesis*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • E-Selectin
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / pharmacology
  • Lysophosphatidylcholines / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Phospholipids / pharmacology
  • Rabbits
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1


  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • E-Selectin
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Lysophosphatidylcholines
  • Phospholipids
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1