Journal of Neurotrauma
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Spinal cord injury (SCI) activates circulating leukocytes that migrate into the injured cord and bystander organs using adhesion molecule-mediated mechanisms. These cells cause oxidative damage, resulting in secondary injury to the spinal cord, as well as injury to bystander organs. This study was designed to examine, over a 6-h to 2-week period, changes in adhesion molecule surface expression on human peripheral leukocytes after SCI (9 subjects), using as controls 10 uninjured subjects and 6 general trauma patients (trauma controls, TC). Both the percentage of cells expressing a given adhesion molecule and the average level of its expression was quantified for both circulating neutrophils and monocytes. The percentage of neutrophils and monocytes expressing the selectin CD62L was unchanged in TC and SCI patients after injury compared to uninjured subjects. Concurrently, the amount of surface CD62L on neutrophils was decreased in SCI and TC subjects, and on monocytes after SCI. The percentage of neutrophils expressing α4 decreased in TC, but not in SCI, subjects. Likewise, the percentage of neutrophils and monocytes expressing CD11d decreased markedly in TC subjects, but not after SCI. In contrast, the mean surface expression of α4 and CD11d by neutrophils and monocytes increased after SCI compared with uninjured and TC subjects. The percentage of cells and surface expression of CD11b were similar in neutrophils of all three groups, whereas CD11b surface expression increased after SCI in monocytes. In summary, unlike changes found after general trauma, the proinflammatory stimulation induced by SCI increases the surface expression of adhesion molecules on circulating neutrophils and monocytes before they infiltrate the injured spinal cord and multiple organs of patients. Integrins may be excellent targets for anti-inflammatory treatment after human SCI. © 2011, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.