Background: Vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) is an endothelial protein with adhesive properties for inflammatory cells including lymphocytes. Its role in skin disease and regulation in vivo are uncertain.
Objective: Our purpose was to determine expression of VCAM-1 in normal and inflamed skin and the effect on this of the T-cell-derived cytokine interferon gamma (IFN-gamma).
Methods: VCAM-1 was detected immunohistochemically in frozen-section biopsy specimens of inflammatory dermatoses and skin tumors. Volunteers received intradermal IFN-gamma and underwent biopsy 2 hours to 6 days later.
Results: In normal skin, VCAM-1 was present on perivascular dendritic cells and some follicular keratinocytes. In allergic contact dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis, VCAM-1 was variably upregulated on dermal endothelium and dendritic cells, but was most pronounced in lichen planus. IFN-gamma led to marked upregulation of endothelial and dermal dendritic cell VCAM-1.
Conclusion: VCAM-1 may be involved in the pathogenesis of various skin diseases and in vivo, IFN-gamma is a potent modulator of its expression.