Adhesion molecules in normal human conjunctiva. An immunohistological study using monoclonal antibodies

Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 1993 Jun;231(6):323-30. doi: 10.1007/BF00919028.


In this immunohistochemical light microscopic study we applied a panel of monoclonal antibodies to study the expression pattern of adhesion molecules in normal human conjunctiva from 15 patients. The molecules we analyzed included the VLA-family VLA-1-6, the leukocyte integrins LFA-1, Mac-1 and p150,95, the immunoglobulins LFA-3, CD2, ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 and the selectin ELAM-1. Our results show that only VLA-2, VLA-3, LFA-3, and the VLA-alpha 6 subunit are expressed on the epithelium. A strongly basal accentuation of the VLA-alpha 6 subunit indicates its possible relevance in anchoring the epithelium at the substantia propria. Intraepithelial T cells were VLA-1, VLA-5, LFA-1, and CD2 positive. Endothelial cells expressed VLA-1, VLA-2, VLA-3, VLA-5, VLA-alpha 6, ICAM-1, and LFA-3. ELAM-1 was seen only in specimens from five patients. Interestingly, mast cells were positive for VLA-3 and VLA-5, both of which are receptors for fibronectin, indicating that these integrins play an important role in mast cell function. Our study builds the basis for further investigations in adhesion molecules in conjunctival diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / analysis*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Conjunctiva / chemistry*
  • Epithelium / chemistry
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques*
  • Male
  • Mast Cells / chemistry
  • Middle Aged
  • T-Lymphocytes / chemistry


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules