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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The ICAM-3/LFA-1 interaction is critical for epidermal Langerhans cell alloantigen presentation to CD4+ T cells.

Intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-3 is a recently described member of the immunoglobulin superfamily and, as such, is closely related to ICAM-1 and ICAM-2. All three ICAMS are cognate for the counter-receptor lymphocyte function associated antigen-1 (LFA-1, CD11a/CD18). Unlike ICAM-1 and ICAM-2, ICAM-3 is constitutively expressed at high levels on resting leucocytes. We investigated the expression and function of ICAM-3 in normal skin (n = 5), as well as its expression in psoriasis (n = 4), atopic eczema (n = 4), allergic (rhus) contact dermatitis (n = 3), and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL, n = 2). Five-micrometre cryostat sections of skin were stained using monoclonal antibodies to ICAM-3 and a well characterized immunoperoxidase technique. In normal skin, ICAM-3 was expressed by all cutaneous leucocytes but most striking was the strong expression of ICAM-3 by Langerhans cells within both epidermis and dermis. This observation was confirmed by double-labelling with CD1a and negative staining with an IgG1 isotype control. In psoriasis, atopic eczema, allergic contact dermatitis, and CTCL, ICAM-3 was co-expressed on all CD1a+ cells, although, in psoriasis, the intensity of ICAM-3 expression was reduced. Functional blocking experiments were performed to determine whether the observed ICAM-3 expression on Langerhans cells was functionally important in antigen presentation. CD4+ T cells were prepared from peripheral blood and 10(5) CD4+ T cells combined with 10(5) epidermal cells harvested from keratome biopsies of normal skin of an individual allogeneic to the T-cell donor. Addition of 50 micrograms anti-ICAM-3 to the co-culture resulted in a consistent (50%) reduction in degree of alloantigen presentation by Langerhans cells to T cells. Inhibition was 77% of that produced by the addition of anti-LFA-1. These data indicate that ICAM-3 is constitutively expressed by Langerhans cells and is a major ligand for LFA-1 on CD4+ T cells during their response to Langerhans cells. Because fresh Langerhans cells constitutively express little ICAM-1, whereas ICAM-3 is constitutively expressed at high levels, it would appear that ICAM-3 is the dominant functional ICAM on in situ Langerhans cells in the normal epidermis.[1]


  1. The ICAM-3/LFA-1 interaction is critical for epidermal Langerhans cell alloantigen presentation to CD4+ T cells. Griffiths, C.E., Railan, D., Gallatin, W.M., Cooper, K.D. Br. J. Dermatol. (1995) [Pubmed]
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