Pneumocystis carinii induces ICAM-1 expression in lung epithelial cells through a TNF-α-mediated mechanism

L. Yu Mariette, Andrew H. Limper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Inflammatory cell recruitment contributes to respiratory impairment during Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. We evaluated expression of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), a key participant in leukocyte accumulation, in rats with P. carinii pneumonia. Immunostaining for ICAM-1 was most marked on bronchiolar epithelium but was also evident on type II pneumocytes, endothelium, and macrophages. Lung from normal and dexamethasone-treated uninfected animals exhibited markedly less ICAM-1. We hypothesized that P. carinii promoted ICAM-1 expression in epithelium through tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) release from macrophages or that P. carinii directly stimulated ICAM-1 expression. Alveolar macrophages were incubated with P. carinii, and the medium was added to A549 epithelial cells. Treatment of macrophages with P. carinii enhanced A549 ICAM-1, which was inhibited with antibody to TNF-α. To determine whether P. carinii alone also stimulated ICAM-1, A549 cells were cultured with P. carinii, also augmenting ICAM-1. Of note, A549 ICAM-1 expression from P. carinii alone was less than with P. carinii-exposed macrophages. Thus ICAM-1 is enhanced in lung epithelium during P. carinii infection, in part, through TNF-α-mediated mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L1103-L1111
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number6 17-6
StatePublished - 1997


  • Intercellular adhesion molecule-1
  • Macrophage
  • Tumor necrosis factor-α

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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