Analysis of adhesion molecules in patients with idiopathic portal hypertension

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The aetiology of idiopathic portal hypertension (IPH) is unknown. However, some evidence of immunological abnormalities in IPH patients has been reported.


As adhesion molecules are important in the interaction between lymphocytes and accessory and target cells, the expression and release of the soluble form of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) and intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM-1) were examined in this study.


In IPH patients, the serum level of soluble VCAM-1 was found to be increased, compared with that of healthy subjects, fatty liver patients and chronic hepatitis patients. The level of soluble ICAM-1 of IPH patients was found to be slightly increased, compared with that of healthy subjects; however, it was not different from the level in patients with other diseases. The expression of VCAM-1 was observed in the sinusoidal lining cells and endothelial cells around the liver vessels of several IPH patients. In contrast, ICAM-1 was weakly expressed in sinusoidal lining cells and hepatocytes in the liver tissue of only one of four IPH patients.


This differential pattern of VCAM-1 and ICAM-1 was found in IPH patients and it was suggested that VCAM-1 might be an important molecule in the occurrence of IPH.

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