1Ali H, 2Akl M, 3Mabrouk M, and 3El Borai Y.
1Department of Tropical Medicine, Tropical Medicine Research Institute, 2Department of Pathology, Theodore Bilharz Research Institute and 3Department of Tropical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University;.
Intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) is a member of the immunoglobulin supergene family. It is a cell surface glycoprotein that mediates lymphocyte adhesion to endothelium, extravasation and adhesion to hepatocytes, which constitute important steps in liver inflammation due to chronic viral hepatitis. Its expression can be induced by inflammatory cytokines in a wide variety of cells, including: hepatocytes, leukocytes and endothelial cells at the sites of inflammation or in the circulation. sICAM-1 represents the extracellular portion of the intact molecule of ICAM-1 and is generated by proteolytic cleavage from the cell membrane. Therefore, serum levels of sICAM-1 may be a useful marker for immune activation and inflammatory processes. We measured serum sICAM-1 in patients with HCV (n = 39) and uninfected controls (n = 10). sICAM-1 levels were found to be significantly elevated (p<0.001) in HCV infected patients compared to uninfected controls. When sICAM-1 levels were correlated with liver function tests in the patients, there was a significant correlation between sICAM-1 and serum ALT levels (p<0.001) and AST levels (p <0.05). Similarly, there was a significant correlation between sICAM-1 levels and the grades of liver inflammation (r = 0.52, p<0.05). When the patients were divided into 3 groups according to the pathologic findings, there was a significant correlation between serum levels of sICAM-1 and the grades of liver inflammation in the group of chronic hepatitis without cirrhosis (r = 0.85, p<0.001), and the group of chronic hepatitis with active cirrhosis (p < 0.05) but not in the group with chronic hepatitis and established cirrhosis.