Prolonged cytokine exposure causes a dynamic redistribution of endothelial cell adhesion molecules to intercellular junctions

Lab Invest. 1996 Oct;75(4):463-72.


After 4 hours of treatment with TNF, newly synthesized endothelial leukocyte adhesion molecule 1, vascular cell adhesion molecule 1, and intercellular adhesion molecule 1 molecules are diffusely expressed on the apical surface of cultured umbilical vein endothelial cells. Such cells maintain the epithelioid, cobblestone appearance of untreated endothelial cells and display cytoskeletal actin largely arranged in dense peripheral bands. After 24 to 72 hours of treatment with TNF, cells become elongated and rearrange their actin filaments into longitudinal stress fibers. At this time, intercellular adhesion molecule 1 and vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 remain elevated but redistribute to the cell junctions. Intercellular adhesion molecule 2, beta 1 integrins, and beta 3 integrins also redistribute to cell junctions in TNF-treated cultures. IFN-gamma produces morphologic changes similar to those induced by TNF but does not cause surface protein redistribution. Cells treated with TNF plus IFN-gamma become even more elongated and display TNF-like redistributions. We conclude that TNF activates a program of membrane protein redistribution, and we speculate that this dynamic redistribution of adhesion molecules to cell junctions may contribute to the recruitment of leukocytes to sites of inflammation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / analysis*
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • E-Selectin / analysis
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / analysis
  • Intercellular Junctions / chemistry*
  • Microscopy, Confocal / methods
  • Time Factors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / physiology*
  • Umbilical Veins / cytology


  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • E-Selectin
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1