Vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) plays a central role in the pathogenesis of severe forms of vasculitis due to hepatitis C-associated mixed cryoglobulinemia

J Hepatol. 2005 Mar;42(3):334-40. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2004.11.034.


Background/aims: To better characterize the molecules involved in leukocyte tissue infiltration during hepatitis C-mixed cryoglobulinemia (HCV-MC)-associated vasculitis.

Methods: The involvement of ELAM, ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 was evaluated in 36 patients with HCV-MC vasculitis using three different approaches: concentrations of soluble forms by specific ELISA, tissue expression by immunohistochemistry on patients nerve biopsies, endothelial expression by FACS analysis, on cells activated in vitro by cryoprecipitates purified from HCV-MC patients.

Results: Concentrations of sVCAM-1 were significantly elevated in the serum of HCV-MC patients compared to HCV patients without MC, the highest concentrations being found in severe vasculitis. VCAM-1 expression was detected on blood vessels from nerve biopsies performed in patients with severe vasculitis. When added to endothelial cells in vitro, HCV-MC patients cryoprecipitate induced VCAM-1 but also ELAM and ICAM-1 expression possibly through a mechanism due to the C1q complement fraction interaction with endothelial cells, since C1q was consistently present in the cryoprecipitates.

Conclusions: VCAM-1 is mainly involved in the pathogenesis of HCV-MC-associated severe vasculitis and may be a potential interesting therapeutic target.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cell Line
  • Complement C1q / analysis
  • Cryoglobulinemia / blood
  • Cryoglobulinemia / etiology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology
  • Hepatitis C / blood
  • Hepatitis C / complications*
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / blood
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / complications
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values
  • Umbilical Veins
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / blood*
  • Vasculitis / blood
  • Vasculitis / etiology
  • Vasculitis / physiopathology*
  • Vasculitis / virology


  • Biomarkers
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Complement C1q