Distribution of cell adhesion molecules (ICAM-1, VCAM-1, ELAM-1) in renal tissue during allograft rejection

Transplantation. 1993 Mar;55(3):610-5. doi: 10.1097/00007890-199303000-00027.


The tissue distribution of cellular adhesion molecules (CAMs) was studied in specimens from 10 normal human kidneys and in 52 biopsies from kidney allografts with cell-mediated rejection. In addition to the vascular presence of ICAM-1, a common finding in normal kidneys, expression of ICAM-1 on tubular cells was observed in 22 graft biopsies. Compared with normal kidneys, where VCAM-1 was present on Bowman's capsules and few proximal tubular cells, a markedly enhanced expression of VCAM-1 in numerous tubuli (including distal tubular segments) was observed in 51 graft biopsies. In 41 graft specimens VCAM-1 appeared also in variable numbers of peritubular capillaries. Infiltrating leukocytes carrying VCAM-1 were observed in 7 grafts. ELAM-1 could not be found in normal kidneys but was restricted to some peritubular capillaries in 29 grafts. Comparable results were obtained with cultured renal tubular cells when stimulated by TNF-alpha. That the induced appearance of adhesion molecules was in fact related to actual cellular synthesis was demonstrated by Northern blot analysis. Thus, little ICAM-1 specific mRNA of 3.4-kb length could be detected in unstimulated cultured renal tubular cells, but hybridization was markedly increased after stimulation with TNF-alpha. A substantial amount of VCAM-1 specific mRNA of 3.2-kb length was present already in unstimulated renal tubular cells. Likewise, synthesis of VCAM-1 mRNA was enhanced by stimulation with TNF-alpha. TNF-stimulated endothelial cells also showed weak synthesis of VCAM-1 mRNA. The results provide further evidence that constitutive and inducible expression of cell adhesion molecules contributes to the process of allograft rejection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Cadaver
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / analysis*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • E-Selectin
  • Graft Rejection / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Kidney / chemistry
  • Kidney / metabolism*
  • Kidney Transplantation / immunology*
  • Kidney Tubules / cytology
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens / immunology
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Transplantation, Homologous
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • E-Selectin
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens