Intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and endothelial leucocyte adhesion molecule-1 (ELAM-1) expression in the bronchial mucosa of normal and asthmatic subjects

S. Montefort, W. R. Roche, P. H. Howarth, R. Djukanovic, C. Gratziou, M. Carroll, L. Smith, K. M. Britten, D. Haskard, T. H. Lee, S. T. Holgate*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


Bronchial lavage and biopsy studies suggest the involvement of eosinophils and T-lymphocytes in allergic inflammation in asthma. There is evidence suggesting that the expression of adhesion molecules on endothelial cells and of their receptors on leucocytes is involved in this process. To investigate these mechanisms we have obtained bronchial mucosal biopsies from 10 normal subjects and from 10 symptomatic atopic asthmatics. Six of the asthmatics were re-biopsied after 6 weeks of inhaled beclomethasone dipropionate (BDP) during which time their clinical response was monitored. Frozen sections were stained by the immunoperoxidase method using monoclonal antibody (MoAb) 6.5B5 to identify expression of intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM-1) and MoAb 1.2B6 for endothelial leucocyte adhesion molecule (ELAM-1). Araldite-embedded sections were also stained for eosinophils using MoAb EG2 to identify eosinophilic cationic protein (ECP). A significant mucosal eosinophilia was apparent in the asthmatic but not in the normal biopsies. Immunostaining for ICAM-1 was observed in both the epithelium and endothelium and ELAM-1 in endothelium, with no significant differences being apparent between the asthmatic and normal subjects. Topical BDP markedly reduced the mucosal eosinophilia without affecting the expression of either adhesion molecule. Using this method, we conclude that there is basal expression of ICAM-1 and ELAM-1 in normal human bronchial mucosa, which is not significantly different from that in asthmatics, and that it is insensitive to suppression with corticosteroids at an inhaled dose that causes clinical improvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)815-823
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1992


  • asthma
  • corticosteroids
  • endothelial leukocyte adhesion molecule
  • eosinophils
  • intercellular adhesion molecule

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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