Inserm, Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale
Faculté de pharmacie, Aix Marseille Université

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Vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) plays a central role in the pathogenesis of severe forms of vasculitis due to hepatitis C-associated mixed cryoglobulinemia

G. Kaplanski, T. Maisonobe, V. Marin, S. Grès, S. Robitail, C. Farnarier, JR. Harlé, JC. Piette, P. Cacoub. Journal of Hepatology, 2005, 42 : 334-40.


To better characterize the molecules involved in leukocyte tissue infiltration during hepatitis C-mixed cryoglobulinemia (HCV-MC)-associated vasculitis.

The involvement of ELAM, ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 was evaluated in 36 patients with HCV-MC vasculitis using three different approaches : concentrations of soluble forms by specific ELISA, tissue expression by immunohistochemistry on patients nerve biopsies, endothelial expression by FACS analysis, on cells activated in vitro by cryoprecipitates purified from HCV-MC patients.

Concentrations of sVCAM-1 were significantly elevated in the serum of HCV-MC patients compared to HCV patients without MC, the highest concentrations being found in severe vasculitis. VCAM-1 expression was detected on blood vessels from nerve biopsies performed in patients with severe vasculitis. When added to endothelial cells in vitro, HCV-MC patients cryoprecipitate induced VCAM-1 but also ELAM and ICAM-1 expression possibly through a mechanism due to the C1q complement fraction interaction with endothelial cells, since C1q was consistently present in the cryoprecipitates.

VCAM-1 is mainly involved in the pathogenesis of HCV-MC-associated severe vasculitis and may be a potential interesting therapeutic target