Expression of Vascular Cell Adhesion molecule-1 in Kidney Allograft Rejection

Kidney Int. 1993 Oct;44(4):805-16. doi: 10.1038/ki.1993.315.


VCAM-1, a leukocyte adhesion molecule expressed by cytokine-activated endothelial cells in culture, may mediate mononuclear leukocyte infiltration in vessels and interstitium in solid organ allograft rejection. Using the avidin-biotin immunoperoxidase technique and an affinity-purified rabbit polyclonal antisera to recombinant human VCAM (rVCAM Ab) which works in methyl Carnoy's fixed tissues, we studied the expression of this molecule in biopsies of transplanted kidneys (N = 34) with and without features of rejection and allograft nephrectomies (N = 17) as well as nontransplanted control tissues (N = 26). The rVCAM Ab showed a population of reactive endothelial cells limited to sites of prominent subendothelial leukocytic cell infiltration in arteries and veins, and occasional peritubular capillaries (PTC) in rejecting allografts. Endothelial expression of VCAM was rarely identified in biopsies showing interstitial rejection only or cyclosporine toxicity, usually in PTC, and was only rarely encountered in nontransplanted control tissues. Apparent de novo expression of VCAM-1 by arterial smooth muscle cells and mesangial cells was present in cases of severe rejection. In addition, a population of cells (DC) with dendritic morphology was identified by rVCAM Ab within sites of lymphoid cell aggregation in rejecting allografts. Further evidence that these cells represent true DC was obtained by identification of VCAM-1 positive, morphologically similar cells in both germinal centers and interfollicular areas of all seven reactive lymph nodes tested; and by similar staining of these cells in the allografts and lymph nodes by antibodies to nerve growth factor receptor and the complement receptor CR1, previously shown to recognize DC. DCs were generally not seen in uninflamed normal control organs or portions of allografts uninvolved by lymphoid aggregates. Enhanced tubular epithelial cell expression of VCAM-1 was also present in rejecting allografts. All staining could be abolished by absorption of the antisera with VCAM-1 transfected, but not ICAM-1 or ELAM-1 transfected, CHO cells. In situ hybridization studies utilizing a cDNA probe to human VCAM-1 demonstrated mRNA production by glomerular, tubular and vascular cells corresponding to sites where the protein was immunohistochemically localized.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arteries / metabolism
  • Arteries / pathology
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Endothelium, Vascular / pathology
  • Graft Rejection*
  • Graft Survival / physiology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Kidney / metabolism*
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / metabolism
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / pathology
  • Reference Values
  • Renal Circulation
  • Transplantation, Homologous
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1


  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1