Regulation of adhesion molecule expression by human synovial microvascular endothelial cells in vitro

Arthritis Rheum. 1996 Mar;39(3):467-77. doi: 10.1002/art.1780390315.


Objective: To examine the in vitro expression of E-selectin, P-selectin, intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1), ICAM-2, vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1), and platelet-endothelial cell adhesion molecule 1 (PECAM-1) by synovial microvascular endothelial cells (SMEC) in comparison with microvascular neonatal foreskin endothelial cells (FSE) and macrovas- cular human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVE).

Methods: Cultured endothelial cells were treated for 4 hours with medium alone or tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha). The expression of endothelial adhesion molecules was evaluated by flow cytometry, cell enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and Northern blot analysis.

Results: SMEC continuously expressed E-selectin under basal culture conditions, whereas FSE and HUVE did not. TNF alpha treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) SMEC resulted in sustained peak expression of E- selectin for up to 24 hours, which subsequently declined but remained elevated even at 72 hours. In contrast, peak E-selectin expression in FSE and HUVE occurred between 4 hours and 16 hours after TNF alpha treatment and then declined to near basal levels by 24-48 hours. SMEC expressed significantly higher levels of ICAM-1 compared with HUVE under basal culture conditions. There was no difference between SMEC, FSE, and HUVE in the expression of P-selectin, VCAM-1, ICAM-2, or PECAM-1. Northern blot analysis demonstrated that the levels of E-selectin expression by TNF alpha stimulated endothelial cells correlated with their respective messenger RNA levels.

Conclusion: Regulation of E-selectin and ICAM-1 expression in RA synovial endothelium is different from that in neonatal foreskin and human umbilical vein endothelium. The augmented expression of adhesion molecules in RA synovial endothelium may facilitate the recruitment of leukocytes to this site.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agglutinins
  • Antigens, CD / genetics
  • Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic / genetics
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / pathology
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / genetics*
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / immunology
  • Cells, Cultured / physiology
  • E-Selectin / genetics
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / genetics
  • Male
  • Microcirculation
  • Microspheres
  • Osteoarthritis / pathology
  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Skin / cytology
  • Synovial Membrane / blood supply*
  • Synovial Membrane / cytology
  • Synovial Membrane / physiology
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / genetics


  • Agglutinins
  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • E-Selectin
  • ICAM2 protein, human
  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1