Vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 expression and signaling during disease: regulation by reactive oxygen species and antioxidants

Antioxid Redox Signal. 2011 Sep 15;15(6):1607-38. doi: 10.1089/ars.2010.3522. Epub 2011 May 11.


The endothelium is immunoregulatory in that inhibiting the function of vascular adhesion molecules blocks leukocyte recruitment and thus tissue inflammation. The function of endothelial cells during leukocyte recruitment is regulated by reactive oxygen species (ROS) and antioxidants. In inflammatory sites and lymph nodes, the endothelium is stimulated to express adhesion molecules that mediate leukocyte binding. Upon leukocyte binding, these adhesion molecules activate endothelial cell signal transduction that then alters endothelial cell shape for the opening of passageways through which leukocytes can migrate. If the stimulation of this opening is blocked, inflammation is blocked. In this review, we focus on the endothelial cell adhesion molecule, vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1). Expression of VCAM-1 is induced on endothelial cells during inflammatory diseases by several mediators, including ROS. Then, VCAM-1 on the endothelium functions as both a scaffold for leukocyte migration and a trigger of endothelial signaling through NADPH oxidase-generated ROS. These ROS induce signals for the opening of intercellular passageways through which leukocytes migrate. In several inflammatory diseases, inflammation is blocked by inhibition of leukocyte binding to VCAM-1 or by inhibition of VCAM-1 signal transduction. VCAM-1 signal transduction and VCAM-1-dependent inflammation are blocked by antioxidants. Thus, VCAM-1 signaling is a target for intervention by pharmacological agents and by antioxidants during inflammatory diseases. This review discusses ROS and antioxidant functions during activation of VCAM-1 expression and VCAM-1 signaling in inflammatory diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Cell Movement
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Leukocytes / metabolism*
  • Leukocytes / pathology
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • NADPH Oxidase 2
  • NADPH Oxidases / metabolism*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / chemistry
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / metabolism*
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / physiology
  • Vitamin E / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Vitamin E
  • CYBB protein, human
  • NADPH Oxidase 2
  • NADPH Oxidases