Estradiol Enhances Leukocyte Binding to Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF)-stimulated Endothelial Cells via an Increase in TNF-induced Adhesion Molecules E-Selectin, Intercellular Adhesion Molecule Type 1, and Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule Type 1

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Adhesion of leukocytes to endothelial cells is a critical step in the development of acute and chronic inflammatory lesions.We report here that estradiol treatment of cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells stimulated up to a twofold increase in TNF-induced adhesion of both polymorphonuclear leukocytes and PMA-activated peripheral blood mononuclear cells. This effect was more evident (threefold increase) when endothelial cells were cultured on the basement membrane glycoprotein laminin. Progesterone, but not testosterone, had a similar stimulatory effect. Estradiol also promoted a slight increase in interferon gamma-stimulated endothelial cell adherence for peripheral blood mononuclear cells, but no effect of estradiol was observed when adhesion of leukocytes to endothelial cells was stimulated with IL-1 or IL-4. The estradiol-induced increase in leukocyte binding to human umbilical vein endothelial cells was partially blocked by antibodies to the adhesion molecules E-selectin, intercellular adhesion molecule type 1 (ICAM-1), and vascular cell adhesion molecule type 1 (VCAM-1). Indirect immunofluorescence techniques showed that estradiol produces an increase in TNF-induced cell surface expression of these molecules. Northern blot analysis demonstrated a transient increase in TNF-induced expression of mRNA for E-selectin, ICAM-1, and VCAM-1 in endothelial cells treated with estradiol. Our data demonstrate that estradiol has important regulatory functions in promoting leukocyte-endothelial cell interactions that might contribute to the observed predominance in females of some autoimmune inflammatory diseases. (J. Clin. Invest. 1994. 93:17-25.) Key words: estrogen. cytokines. endothelial cell. inflammation. vasculitis

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