OBJECTIVE: To investigate the role of junctional adhesion molecule-A (JAM-A) in the pathogenesis of systemic sclerosis (SSc).
METHODS: Biopsy specimens from proximal and distal arm skin and serum were obtained from patients with SSc and normal volunteers. To determine the expression of JAM-A on SSc dermal fibroblasts and in SSc skin, cell surface ELISAs and immunohistology were performed. An ELISA was designed to determine the amount of soluble JAM-A (sJAM-A) in serum. Myeloid U937 cell-SSc dermal fibroblast and skin adhesion assays were performed to determine the role of JAM-A in myeloid cell adhesion.
RESULTS: The stratum granulosum and dermal endothelial cells (ECs) from distal arm SSc skin exhibited significantly decreased expression of JAM-A in comparison with normal volunteers. However, sJAM-A was increased in the serum of patients with SSc compared with normal volunteers. Conversely, JAM-A was increased on the surface of SSc compared with normal dermal fibroblasts. JAM-A accounted for a significant portion of U937 binding to SSc dermal fibroblasts. In addition, JAM-A contributed to U937 adhesion to both distal and proximal SSc skin.
CONCLUSIONS: JAM-A expression is dysregulated in SSc skin. Decreased expression of JAM-A on SSc ECs may result in a reduced response to proangiogenic basic fibroblast growth factor. Increased JAM-A expression on SSc fibroblasts may serve to retain myeloid cells, which in turn secrete angiogenic factors.
Hou, Y; Rabquer, B J; Gerber, M L; Galdo, F Del; Jimenez, S A; Haines, G K; Barr, W G; Massa, M C; Seibold, J R; and Koch, A E, "Junctional adhesion molecule-A is abnormally expressed in diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis skin and mediates myeloid cell adhesion." (2010). Scleroderma Center Faculty Papers. Paper 2.