University Of Tasmania
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The main rhinovirus respiratory tract adhesion site (ICAM-1) is upregulated in smokers and patients with chronic airflow limitation (CAL)

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 10:33 authored by Shukla, SD, Mahmood, MQ, Weston, S, Roger Latham, Muller, HK, Sukhwinder SohalSukhwinder Sohal, Eugene WaltersEugene Walters

Background: ICAM-1 is a major receptor for ~60% of human rhinoviruses, and non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae, two major pathogens in COPD. Increased cell-surface expression of ICAM-1 in response to tobacco smoke exposure has been suggested. We have investigated epithelial ICAM-1 expression in both the large and small airways, and lung parenchyma in smoking-related chronic airflow limitation (CAL) patients.

Methods: We evaluated epithelial ICAM-1 expression in resected lung tissue: 8 smokers with normal spirometry (NLFS); 29 CAL patients (10 small-airway disease; 9 COPD-smokers; 10 COPD ex-smokers); Controls (NC): 15 normal airway/lung tissues. Immunostaining with anti-ICAM-1 monoclonal antibody was quantified with computerized image analysis. The percent and type of cells expressing ICAM-1 in large and small airway epithelium and parenchyma were enumerated, plus percentage of epithelial goblet and submucosal glands positive for ICAM- 1.

Results: A major increase in ICAM-1 expression in epithelial cells was found in both large (p < 0.006) and small airways (p < 0.004) of CAL subjects compared to NC, with NLFS being intermediate. In the CAL group, both basal and luminal areas stained heavily for ICAM-1, so did goblet cells and sub-mucosal glands, however in either NC or NLFS subjects, only epithelial cell luminal surfaces stained. ICAM-1 expression on alveolar pneumocytes (mainly type II) was slightly increased in CAL and NLFS (p < 0.01). Pack-years of smoking correlated with ICAM-1 expression (r,/i> = 0.49; p < 0.03).

Conclusion: Airway ICAM-1 expression is markedly upregulated in CAL group, which could be crucial in rhinoviral and NTHi infections. The parenchymal ICAM-1 is affected by smoking, with no further enhancement in CAL subjects.


Publication title

Respiratory research








Tasmanian School of Medicine


Current Science Ltd.

Place of publication

BioMed Central Ltd.

Rights statement

Copyright 2017 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Clinical health not elsewhere classified

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