Leukocyte adhesion molecules on endothelial cells of the blood-brain barrier may participate in the entry of leukocytes into the central nervous system. Because astrocytes are also a component of the blood-brain barrier and have been associated with inflammation, we studied the ability of astrocytes to express leukocyte adhesion molecules using Northern blot and immunocytochemical techniques. Astrocytes treated with the proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF) expressed messenger RNA for the adhesion molecules E-selectin, vascular cell adhesion molecule 1, and intercellular adhesion molecule 1, as well as their corresponding proteins. In addition, TNF-treated astrocytes expressed a monocyte adhesion protein identified by our laboratory, recognized by the monoclonal antibody IG9. These results indicate that under inflammatory conditions in the central nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis and acquired immune deficiency syndrome, astrocyte expression of adhesion molecules may facilitate the migration of leukocytes and contribute to the disease process.

This content is only available as a PDF.