Induction of adhesion molecules on human Schwann cells by proinflammatory cytokines, an immunofluorescence study

Gabriela Constantin, Laura Piccio, Simona Bussini, Antonio Pizzuti, Elio Scarpini, Pierluigi Baron, Giancarlo Conti, Silvia Pizzul, Guglielmo Scarlato

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23 Scopus citations


The presence of cytokines in the peripheral nerve was positively correlated to the induction and progression of inflammation during experimental allergic neuritis (EAN) and Guillain Barre syndrome (GBS). We investigated the induction of adhesion molecules such as L-selectin, E- selectin, ICAM-1, VCAM-1 and Mac-1 on Schwann cells by proinflammatory cytokines. Cultured human Schwann cells from normal adult, fetal and diabetic nerves were studied by immunofluorescence at basal condition and after stimulation with cytokines for 6, 24, 48 and 96 h. Incubation of human Schwann cells with TNFα, IFNγ and IL-1β induces the expression of ICAM-1 starting at 6 h and reaching a peak at 24 h on more than 90% of cells. VCAM-1 expression was induced after 6 h of treatment with TNFα and IL-1β on almost 100% of Schwann cells. Surprisingly, stimulation with TNFα, IFNγ and IL-1β also induced the expression of L-selectin on fetal and diabetic Schwann cells, but not on normal adult cells. E-selectin, an adhesion molecule classically upregulated during inflammation, as well as Mac-1, a ligand for ICAM-1, were not expressed on human Schwann cells at basal condition or after treatment with cytokines. No ICAM-1, VCAM-1 and L-selectin expression was found on unstimulated Schwann cells. Our results suggest that upregulation of adhesion molecules on Schwann cells may have a role in the pathogenesis of inflammation in the peripheral nerve.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-130
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 30 1999


  • Cytokines
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Inflammatory neuropathies
  • Integrins
  • Peripheral nerve
  • Schwann cell
  • Selectins


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