Objective: To assess the value of measuring serum levels of soluble intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (sICAM-1), soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (sVCAMP-1), and soluble E-selectin for monitoring disease activity in Wegener's granulomatosis (WG).
Methods: A sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to measure levels of soluble adhesion molecules at the time of diagnosis in 22 consecutive patients with WG, in 12 WG patients studied serially prior to disease relapse, at the time of upper airways infection in 18 patients with inactive WG, and in 57 controls. Disease activity was assessed by disease activity score and C-reactive protein levels.
Results: At diagnosis of WG, sICAM-1 and sVCAM-1 levels were significantly elevated and correlated with disease activity. At the time of relapse, a significant increase in all 3 soluble adhesion molecules was found compared with levels at 6 months prior to relapse, but only sVCAM-1 levels were significantly elevated compared with those in controls. Levels of soluble adhesion molecules at the time of relapse did not differ from those measured during an upper airways infection without disease activity.
Conclusion: Elevated serum levels of sICAM-1 and sVCAM-1 can be found in active WG and correlate with disease activity. However, their clinical relevance for followup is limited due to lack of sensitivity and specificity for WG disease activity.