Heavy-metal modulation of the human intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM-1) gene expression

Stefano Martinotti, Elena Toniato, Antonella Colagrande, Edoardo Alesse, Claudia Alleva, Isabella Screpanti, Stefania Morrone, Susanna Scarpa, Luigi Frati, Adrian C. Hayday, Franco Piovella, Alberto Gulino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) can be induced on many different cell types by a set of various modulators (IL1β, TNF, LPS, IFN-γ), which are released during the inflammatory process. We have investigated the possibility that other factors, related to the stress and biophysical perturbations of the inflammatory response, may also modulate ICAM-1. Here, we report that heavy metals, in particular zinc, can enhance the expression of the ICAM-1 gene on cells actively involved at different levels during inflammation. Kinetic studies of ICAM-1 gene expression shows a maximum level of induction 4 h after treatment with metals, followed by a rapid decrease to basal levels within 12 h. The effect on enhanced gene expression is mostly due to a rapid increase of the transcriptional rate as shown by nuclear run-on experiments. In B lymphoblastoid cells, but not in fibroblasts, the increase in RNA expression seems significantly greater that the subsequent increase in protein expression, suggesting that a further point of post-transcriptional regulation of ICAM-1 occurs and may be linked to the cellular specificity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-114
Number of pages8
JournalBBA - Gene Structure and Expression
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 14 1995


  • (Human)
  • Gene expression
  • Heavy metal modulation
  • Intercellular adhesion molecule

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Structural Biology


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