Study objective: Adhesion molecules have been implicated in the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases. This study was designed to determine whether soluble adhesion molecules in serum reflect the disease activity in diffuse panbronchiolitis (DPB).
Patients and methods: Using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, we measured the serum levels of soluble L-, E-, and P-selectin (sL-, sE-, and sP-selectin), intercellular adhesion molecule-1, and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 in 27 patients with DPB, 13 with bronchiectasis, and 15 normal adults. BAL was also performed, and the levels of interleukin (IL)-8 and IL-1β in BAL fluid (BALF) were measured.
Results: The serum levels of these molecules were significantly elevated in DPB patients compared with the control subjects. DPB patients also had significant high levels of circulating sE- and sP-selectin compared with patients with bronchiectasis. There was a significant correlation between serum sE-selectin and the percentage of neutrophils in BALF in all patients. There was a significant inverse correlation between serum sE-selectin and percent vital capacity in DPB patients. In the same patients, the relationships between serum sE-selectin and BALF concentrations of IL-1β as well as between serum sL-selectin and BALF IL-8 were also significant. Treatment of DPB patients with macrolides significantly reduced the serum levels of these soluble adhesion molecules and BALF concentrations of IL-1β and IL-8.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that these soluble adhesion molecules, particularly selectins, may reflect the disease activity of DPB, and that their levels may be regulated by cytokines produced in the lungs.