Endothelial cell E- and P-selectin and vascular cell adhesion molecule- 1 function as signaling receptors

P. Lorenzon, E. Vecile, E. Nardon, E. Ferrero, J. M. Harlan, F. Tedesco, A. Dobrina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous studies have shown that polymorphonuclear leukocyte (PMN) adherence to endothelial cells (EC) induces transient increases in EC cytosolic free calcium concentration ([Ca2+](i)) that are required for PMN transit across the EC barrier (Huang, A.J., J.E. Manning, T.M. Bandak, M.C. Ratau, K.R. Hanser, and S.C. Silverstein. 1993. J. Cell Biol. 120:1371- 1380). To determine whether stimulation of [Ca2+](i) changes in EC by leukocytes was induced by the same molecules that mediate leukocyte adherence to EC, [Ca2+](i) was measured in Fura2-loaded human EC monolayers. Expression of adhesion molecules by EC was induced by a pretreatment of the cells with histamine or with Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and [Ca2+](i) was measured in single EC after the addition of mAbs directed against the EC adhesion proteins P-selectin, E-selectin, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), or platelet/endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (PECAM-1). Both anti-P- and anti-E-selectin mAb, as well as anti-VCAM-1 mAb, induced transient increases in EC [Ca2+](i) that were comparable to those induced by 200 μM histamine. In contrast, no effect was obtained by mAbs directed against the endothelial ICAM-1 or PECAM-1. PMN adherence directly stimulated increases in [Ca2+](i) in histamine- or LPS-treated EC. mAbs directed against leukocyte CD18 or PECAM-1, the leukocyte counter-receptors for endothelial ICAM-1 and PECAM-1, respectively, did not inhibit PMN-induced EC activation. In contrast, mAb directed against sialyl Lewis x (sLe(x)), a PMN ligand for endothelial P- and E-selectin, completely inhibited EC stimulation by adherent PMN. Changes in EC [Ca2+](i) were also observed after adherence of peripheral blood monocytes to EC treated with LPS for 5 or 24 h. In these experiments, the combined addition of mAbs to sLe(x) and VLA-4, the leukocyte counter-receptor for endothelial VCAM-1, inhibited [Ca2+](i) changes in the 5 h-treated EC, whereas the anti-VLA-4 mAb alone was sufficient to inhibit [Ca2+](i) changes in the 24 h-treated EC. Again, no inhibitory effect was observed with an anti-CD18 or anti-PECAM-1 mAb. Of note, the conditions that induced changes in EC [Ca2+](i), i.e., mAbs directed against endothelial selectins or VCAM-1, and PMN or monocyte adhesion to EC via selectins or VCAM-1, but not via ICAM-1 or PECAM-1, also induced a rearrangement of EC cytoskeletal microfilaments from a circumferential ring to stress fibers. We conclude that, in addition to their role as adhesion receptors, endothelial selectins and VCAM-1 mediate endothelial stimulation by adhering leukocytes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1381-1391
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 7 1998


  • Adherence
  • Endothelial
  • Selectin
  • Signaling
  • VCAM-1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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