Adhesion molecules play an important part in leucocyte transendothelial migration and thus may provide a useful marker of surface expression at inflammatory sites. In 20 patients with Henoch-Schönlein purpura serum intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1), E-selectin, and plasma von Willebrand factor (vWF) were determined by ELISA during the active and inactive phase of the disease. Twelve healthy children were studied as a control group. Serum ICAM-1 concentrations increased during the active phase of the disease and differed significantly compared with the inactive phase (p < 0.05). However ICAM-1 in the active phase did not differ significantly compared with controls (p = 0.08). Serum E-selectin concentrations did not differ in the active and inactive phase of the disease. By contrast, vWF increased in the active phase of the disease and differed significantly compared with inactive disease and control groups (p < 0.01). Considering the adhesion molecules and vWF, only vWF correlated well with the C reactive protein measurement in the active phase, which is considered a good marker of disease activity. These data suggest that plasma vWF is a good marker of vascular inflammation and endothelial damage. Circulating ICAM-1 might be an additional parameter in some of the patients.
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