Endothelial activation and circulating vascular adhesion molecules in alcoholic liver disease



Alcoholic hepatitis is characterized by hepatocyte necrosis associated with infiltration of the liver parenchyma by neutrophils. The mechanisms responsible for recruiting neutrophils to the liver are unknown. We report high circulating levels and tissue expression of the endothelial adhesion molecule E-selectin in alcoholic hepatitis. Because expression of E-selectin is involved in neutrophil transmigration into inflamed tissue, it may play a crucial role in the recruitment of neutrophils to the liver in alcoholic hepatitis. By contrast, we detected high levels of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, the endothelial counter-receptor for the lymphocyte adhesion molecule very late antigen-4, in alcoholic cirrhosis, which is associated with a predominantly mononuclear cell infiltrate. Both diseases were associated with high levels of circulating intercellular adhesion molecule-1, which is released by activated lymphocytes, providing further evidence of immune activation in alcoholic liver disease. (Hepatology 1994;19:588–594).