VCAM-1 expression on human dermal microvascular endothelial cell is directly and specifically up-regulated by substance P

Kimberly L. Quinlan, In Sung Song, Shubhada M. Naik, Eleanor L. Letran, John E. Olerud, Nigel W. Bunnett, Cheryl A. Armstrong, S. Wright Caughman, John C. Ansel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sensory nerves in skin are capable of releasing multiple neuropeptides, which modulate inflammatory responses by activating specific cutaneous target cells. Extravasation of particular subsets of leukocytes depends upon the regulated expression of cellular adhesion molecules such as VCAM-1 on microvascular endothelial cells. We examined the direct effect of cutaneous neuropeptides on the expression and function of human dermal microvascular endothelial cell (HDMEC) VCAM-1. A significant increase in VCAM-1 immunostaining of microvascular endothelium was observed in vivo following capsaicin application to human skin. Multiple cutaneous sensory C-fiber- released neuropeptides were evaluated for their ability to induce VCAM-1 cell surface expression on HDMEC. Only substance P (SP) was found to be capable to inducing HDMEC VCAM-1 expression. This SP-mediated VCAM-1 induction appeared to be a direct effect that did not require the release of other HDMEC- derived soluble factors. Increased HDMEC VCAM-1 mRNA expression was detected 1 h after the addition of SP, with peak mRNA increase at 6-9 h postinduction. FACS studies demonstrated a 6.5-fold increase in endothelial cell surface VCAM-1 expression detectable 16 h after addition of SP, which was specifically blocked by a neurokinin-1 receptor antagonist. Increased VCAM-1 cell surface expression on SP-treated HDMEC resulted in a 4-fold increase in the functional binding of 51Cr-labeled MOLT-4 T cells. These data indicate that SP is capable of directly and specifically up-regulating functional endothelial. VCAM-1 expression and thus may play a key role in modulating certain inflammatory responses in the skin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1656-1661
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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