Intercellular Adhesion Molecule 1: More than a Leukocyte Adhesion Molecule

Biology (Basel). 2023 May 19;12(5):743. doi: 10.3390/biology12050743.


Intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) is a transmembrane protein in the immunoglobulin superfamily expressed on the surface of multiple cell populations and upregulated by inflammatory stimuli. It mediates cellular adhesive interactions by binding to the β2 integrins macrophage antigen 1 and leukocyte function-associated antigen 1, as well as other ligands. It has important roles in the immune system, including in leukocyte adhesion to the endothelium and transendothelial migration, and at the immunological synapse formed between lymphocytes and antigen-presenting cells. ICAM-1 has also been implicated in the pathophysiology of diverse diseases from cardiovascular diseases to autoimmune disorders, certain infections, and cancer. In this review, we summarize the current understanding of the structure and regulation of the ICAM1 gene and the ICAM-1 protein. We discuss the roles of ICAM-1 in the normal immune system and a selection of diseases to highlight the breadth and often double-edged nature of its functions. Finally, we discuss current therapeutics and opportunities for advancements.

Keywords: ICAM-1; atherosclerosis; cancer; immune system; infection; inflammation; intercellular adhesion molecule 1.

Publication types

  • Review