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1.  Phenotypic and functional characterisation of CCR7+ and CCR7- CD4+ memory T cells homing to the joints in juvenile idiopathic arthritis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2005;7(2):R256-R267.
The aim of the study was to characterise CCR7+ and CCR7- memory T cells infiltrating the inflamed joints of patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) and to investigate the functional and anatomical heterogeneity of these cell subsets in relation to the expression of the inflammatory chemokine receptors CXCR3 and CCR5. Memory T cells freshly isolated from the peripheral blood and synovial fluid (SF) of 25 patients with JIA were tested for the expression of CCR7, CCR5, CXCR3 and interferon-γ by flow cytometry. The chemotactic activity of CD4 SF memory T cells from eight patients with JIA to inflammatory (CXCL11 and CCL3) and homeostatic (CCL19, CCL21) chemokines was also evaluated. Paired serum and SF samples from 28 patients with JIA were tested for CCL21 concentrations. CCR7, CXCR3, CCR5 and CCL21 expression in synovial tissue from six patients with JIA was investigated by immunohistochemistry. Enrichment of CD4+, CCR7- memory T cells was demonstrated in SF in comparison with paired blood from patients with JIA. SF CD4+CCR7- memory T cells were enriched for CCR5+ and interferon-γ+ cells, whereas CD4+CCR7+ memory T cells showed higher coexpression of CXCR3. Expression of CCL21 was detected in both SF and synovial membranes. SF CD4+ memory T cells displayed significant migration to both inflammatory and homeostatic chemokines. CCR7+ T cells were detected in the synovial tissue in either diffuse perivascular lymphocytic infiltrates or organised lymphoid aggregates. In synovial tissue, a large fraction of CCR7+ cells co-localised with CXCR3, especially inside lymphoid aggregates, whereas CCR5+ cells were enriched in the sublining of the superficial subintima. In conclusion, CCR7 may have a role in the synovial recruitment of memory T cells in JIA, irrespective of the pattern of lymphoid organisation. Moreover, discrete patterns of chemokine receptor expression are detected in the synovial tissue.
PMCID: PMC1065323  PMID: 15743472
chemokines; memory T lymphocytes; juvenile idiopathic arthritis
2.  Differential expression of chemokine receptors on peripheral blood B cells from patients with rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2005;7(5):R1001-R1013.
Chemokines and their receptors are essential in the recruitment and positioning of lymphocytes. To address the question of B cell migration into the inflamed synovial tissue of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), peripheral blood naive B cells, memory B cells and plasma cells were analyzed for cell surface expression of the chemokine receptors CXCR3, CXCR4, CXCR5, CCR5, CCR6, CCR7 and CCR9. For comparison, B cells in the peripheral blood of patients with the autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or with the degenerative disease osteoarthritis (OA) were analyzed. Expression levels of chemokine receptors were measured by flow cytometry and were compared between the different patient groups and healthy individuals. The analysis of chemokine receptor expression showed that the majority of peripheral blood B cells is positive for CXCR3, CXCR4, CXCR5, CCR6 and CCR7. Whereas a small fraction of B cells were positive for CCR5, practically no expression of CCR9 was found. In comparison with healthy individuals, in patients with RA a significant fraction of B cells showed a decreased expression of CXCR5 and CCR6 and increased levels of CXCR3. The downregulation of CXCR5 correlated with an upregulation of CXCR3. In patients with SLE, significant changes in CXCR5 expression were seen. The functionality of the chemokine receptors CXCR3 and CXCR4 was demonstrated by transmigration assays with the chemokines CXCL10 and CXCL12, respectively. Our results suggest that chronic inflammation leads to modulation of chemokine receptor expression on peripheral blood B cells. However, differences between patients with RA and patients with SLE point toward a disease-specific regulation of receptor expression. These differences may influence the migrational behavior of B cells.
PMCID: PMC1257429  PMID: 16207316
3.  Expression and regulation of CCL18 in synovial fluid neutrophils of patients with rheumatoid arthritis 
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is characterized by the recruitment of leukocytes and the accumulation of inflammatory mediators within the synovial compartment. Release of the chemokine CCL18 has been widely attributed to antigen-presenting cells, including macrophages and dendritic cells. This study investigates the production of CCL18 in polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN), the predominant cell type recruited into synovial fluid (SF). Microarray analysis, semiquantitative and quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction identified SF PMN from patients with RA as a novel source for CCL18 in diseased joints. Highly upregulated expression of other chemokine genes was observed for CCL3, CXCL8 and CXCL10, whereas CCL21 was downregulated. The chemokine receptor genes were differentially expressed, with upregulation of CXCR4, CCRL2 and CCR5 and downregulation of CXCR1 and CXCR2. In cell culture experiments, expression of CCL18 mRNA in blood PMN was induced by tumor necrosis factor α, whereas synthesis of CCL18 protein required additional stimulation with a combination of IL-10 and vitamin D3. In comparison, recruited SF PMN from patients with RA were sensitized for CCL18 production, because IL-10 alone was sufficient to induce CCL18 release. These results suggest a release of the T cell-attracting CCL18 by PMN when recruited to diseased joints. However, its production is tightly regulated at the levels of mRNA expression and protein synthesis.
PMCID: PMC2212580  PMID: 17875202
4.  Characterization of CCL19 and CCL21 in Rheumatoid Arthritis 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2011;63(4):914-922.
The aim was to characterize the expression of CCL19 and CCL21 in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synovial tissue and to examine their regulation and pathogenic role in macrophages and RA synovial tissue fibroblasts.
Expression of CCL19 and CCL21 was demonstrated in RA and normal (NL) synovial tissues employing immunohistochemistry. CCL19 and CCL21 levels were quantified in fluids from osteoarthritis (OA), juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and RA using ELISA. Regulation of CCL19 and CCL21 expression was determined in RA peripheral blood in vitro differentiated macrophages as well as RA synovial tissue fibroblasts by real-time RT-PCR. CCL19 and CCL21 activated peripheral blood in vitro differentiated macrophages and RA synovial tissue fibroblasts were examined for proangiogenic factor production employing ELISA.
CCL19 and CCL21 were elevated in RA synovial tissue compared to NL controls. Levels of CCL19 and CCL21 were greatly increased in RA and PsA synovial fluid versus OA synovial fluid. In RA macrophages and fibroblasts, expression of CCL19 was increased by LPS, TNF-α and IL-1β stimulation. However, CCL21 expression was modulated by IL-1β in RA fibroblasts as well as TNF-α and RA synovial fluid in RA macrophages. CCL19 and CCL21 activation induced VEGF and Ang-1 production from RA synovial tissue fibroblasts and secretion of IL-8 and Ang-1 from macrophages.
We identify, for the first time, regulators of CCL19 and CCL21 in RA fibroblasts and RA peripheral blood in vitro differentiated macrophages and we document a novel role of CCL19/21 in RA angiogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3079365  PMID: 21225692
CCL19; CCL21; RA synovial tissue fibroblast; macrophages and proangiogenic factors
5.  A Chemokine-Dependent Stromal Induction Mechanism for Aberrant Lymphocyte Accumulation and Compromised Lymphatic Return in Rheumatoid Arthritis 
According to the current model for tissue-specific homing, specificity is conferred by the selective recruitment of lymphocyte populations from peripheral blood, based on their expression of chemokine and adhesion receptors (endothelial selection). In this study, we provide evidence for an alternative stromal induction mechanism that operates in chronic inflammation. We show that the human rheumatoid synovial microenvironment directly induces functional inflammatory (CCR5 and CXCR3) and constitutive (CCR7 and CXCR4) chemokine receptors on infiltrating CD4+ T cells. Expression of the corresponding inflammatory chemokine ligands (CCL5 and CXCL11) was confined to stromal areas in the synovium. However, expression of the constitutive ligands (CCL19 and CXCL12) was inappropriately high on both vascular and lymphatic endothelium, suggesting that the vascular to lymphatic chemokine gradient involved in lymphatic recirculation becomes subverted in the rheumatoid synovium. These results challenge the view that leukocyte trafficking is regulated solely by selective recruitment of pre-existing chemokine receptor-positive cells from peripheral blood, by providing an alternative explanation based on aberrant lymphocyte retention and compromised lymphatic return.
PMCID: PMC3121555  PMID: 15661933
6.  IL-17-mediated monocyte migration occurs partially through CCL2/MCP-1 induction1 
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease which is in part mediated by proinflammatory factors produced by RA synovial tissue fibroblasts and macrophages, resulting in monocyte migration from the blood to the synovial tissue. In order to characterize the potential role of IL-17 in monocyte migration, RA synovial fibroblasts and macrophages were activated with IL-17 and examined for the expression of monocyte chemokines. The two potentially important monocyte chemoattractants identified were CCL20/MIP-3α and CCL2/MCP-1, which were significantly induced in RA synovial fibroblasts and macrophages. However, in vivo, only CCL2/MCP-1 was detectable following adenovirus (Ad)-IL-17 injection. We found that IL-17 induction of CCL2/MCP-1 was mediated by PI3K, ERK, and JNK pathways in RA synovial tissue fibroblasts and PI3K and ERK pathways in macrophages. Further, we show that neutralization of CCL2/MCP-1 significantly reduced IL-17-mediated monocyte recruitment into the peritoneal cavity. We demonstrate that local expression of IL-17 in ankle joints was associated with significantly increased monocyte migration and CCL2/MCP-1 levels. Interestingly, we show that RA synovial fluids immunoneutralized for both IL-17 and CCL2/MCP-1 have similar monocyte chemotaxis activity as those immunoneutralized for each factor alone. In short, CCL2/MCP-1 produced from cell types present in the RA joint as well as in experimental arthritis may be in part responsible for IL-17-induced monocyte migration, hence these results suggest that CCL2/MCP-1 is a downstream target of IL-17 that may be important in RA.
PMCID: PMC2858914  PMID: 20228199
IL-17; CCL2/MCP-1; macrophages; synovial tissue fibroblasts; monocytes; rheumatoid arthritis
7.  Deficiency of CXCR2, but not other chemokine receptors, attenuates a murine model of autoantibody-mediated arthritis 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2010;62(7):1921-1932.
Chemokines coordinate leukocyte trafficking in homeostasis and during immune responses. Prior studies of their role in arthritis have employed animal models with both an initial adaptive immune response and an inflammatory effector phase. This study focused on chemokines and their receptors in the effector phase of arthritis using the K/BxN serum-transfer model.
A time-course microarray analysis of serum-transferred arthritis was performed, examining ankle, synovial fluid and peripheral blood. Upregulation of chemokines was confirmed by quantitative RT-PCR. The functional relevance of chemokine induction was assessed by transferring serum into mice deficient in CCR1–CCR7, CCR9, CXCR2, CXCR3, CXCR5, CX3CR1, CCL2 or CCL3. Further mechanistic analysis of CXCR2 involved treatment of arthritic mice with a CXCR2 antagonist, bone-marrow transfers with CXCR2+/− and CXCR2−/− donors and recipients, flow cytometry of synovial cells, and competition experiments measuring enrichment of CXCR2-expressing neutrophils in arthritic joints of mice with mixed CXCR2+/+ and CXCR2−/− bone-marrow.
Gene-expression profiling revealed upregulation of the CXCR2 ligands CXCL1, CXCL2 and CXCL5 in the joint in parallel with disease activity. CXCR2−/− mice had attenuated disease relative to CXCR2+/− littermates, as did mice receiving the CXCR2 inhibitor, while deficiency of other chemokine receptors did not affect arthritis severity. CXCR2 was required only on hematopoietic cells and was widely expressed on synovial neutrophils. CXCR2-expressing neutrophils were preferentially recruited to arthritic joints in the presence of CXCR2-deficient neutrophils.
CXCR2 (but not other chemokine receptors) is critical for the development of autoantibody-mediated arthritis, exhibiting a cell-autonomous role in neutrophil recruitment to inflamed joints.
PMCID: PMC2994550  PMID: 20506316
8.  Role of the CCL21 and CCR7 pathway in rheumatoid arthritis angiogenesis 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2012;64(8):2471-2481.
These studies were performed to determine the role of CCL21 and its corresponding receptor CCR7 in the pathogenesis of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).
Histological studies were performed to compare the expression of CCR7 and CCL21 in RA synovial tissues. Next the role of CCL21 and/or CCR7 in angiogenesis was examined employing in vitro chemotaxis, tube formation and in vivo matrigel plug assays. Finally the mechanism by which CCL21 mediates angiogenesis was determined by Western blot analysis, endothelial chemotaxis and tube formation.
In this study, we document that CCR7 and CCL21 colocolize in VWF+ cells where their expression is elevated in RA synovial tissue. Hence the ability to induce angiogenesis was examined for CCR7 ligands, CCL19 and CCL21. CCL21, but not CCL19, at concentrations present in the RA joint, induces human microvascular endothelial cell (HMVEC) migration that is mediated through CCR7 ligation. Further, suppression of the PI3K pathway markedly reduces CCL21-induced HMVEC chemotaxis and tube formation, however suppression of ERK and JNK pathways has no effect on these processes. Neutralization of either CCL21 in RA synovial fluids or CCR7 on HMVECs significantly reduces the induction of HMVEC migration and/or tube formation by RA synovial fluid. We further demonstrate that CCL21 is angiogenic, by showing its ability to promote blood vessel growth in matrigel plugs in vivo at concentrations present in RA joint.
These observations identify a novel function for CCL21 as an angiogenic mediator in RA, supporting CCL21/CCR7 as a therapeutic target in RA.
PMCID: PMC3409328  PMID: 22392503
CCL21; CCR7; RA synovial fluid; angiogenesis and migration
9.  Chemokine system polymorphisms, survival and hepatocellular carcinoma occurrence in patients with hepatitis C virus-related cirrhosis 
AIM: To explore the influence of polymorphisms in genes encoding for the chemokines Stromal cell-Derived Factor-1 (SDF-1)/CXCL12 and Monocyte Chemotactic Protein-1 (MCP-1)/CCL2, or for the chemokine receptor CCR5 on the risks of liver-related death and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) occurrence in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected patients.
METHODS: SDF-1 3’A, MCP-1 (-2518) and CCR5-Δ32 polymorphisms, SDF-1α, Regulated upon Activation Normal T cells Expressed and Secreted (RANTES)/CCL5 and MCP-1 serum levels were determined in 120 HCV-infected patients, included at time of cirrhosis diagnosis and prospectively followed-up.
RESULTS: During follow-up, 23/120 (19.1%) patients died and 47/120 (39.1%) developed HCC. Carriers and noncarriers of each genetic marker had similar baseline characteristics estimating the severity of liver disease. The occurrence of death or HCC during follow-up was similar among carriers and noncarriers of each polymorphism. There was no association between the carriage of mutated alleles and chemokine serum levels and the latter were not associated with the risks of death or HCC.
CONCLUSION: This study suggests the lack of association of SDF-1 3’A, MCP-1 (-2518), CCR5-Δ32 polymorphisms with death and HCC occurrence in cirrhotic HCV-infected patients.
PMCID: PMC2683997  PMID: 18205260
Chemokine; Polymorphism; Cirrhosis; Hepatocarcinoma; Hepatitis C virus
10.  Monocytes/macrophages express chemokine receptor CCR9 in rheumatoid arthritis and CCL25 stimulates their differentiation 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2010;12(4):R161.
Monocytes/macrophages accumulate in the rheumatoid (RA) synovium where they play a central role in inflammation and joint destruction. Identification of molecules involved in their accumulation and differentiation is important to inform therapeutic strategies. This study investigated the expression and function of chemokine receptor CCR9 in the peripheral blood (PB) and synovium of RA, non-RA patients and healthy volunteers.
CCR9 expression on PB monocytes/macrophages was analysed by flow cytometry and in synovium by immunofluorescence. Chemokine receptor CCR9 mRNA expression was examined in RA and non-RA synovium, monocytes/macrophages from PB and synovial fluid (SF) of RA patients and PB of healthy donors using the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Monocyte differentiation and chemotaxis to chemokine ligand 25 (CCL25)/TECK were used to study CCR9 function.
CCR9 was expressed by PB monocytes/macrophages in RA and healthy donors, and increased in RA. In RA and non-RA synovia, CCR9 co-localised with cluster of differentiation 14+ (CD14+) and cluster of differentiation 68+ (CD68+) macrophages, and was more abundant in RA synovium. CCR9 mRNA was detected in the synovia of all RA patients and in some non-RA controls, and monocytes/macrophages from PB and SF of RA and healthy controls. CCL25 was detected in RA and non-RA synovia where it co-localised with CD14+ and CD68+ cells. Tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) increased CCR9 expression on human acute monocytic leukemia cell line THP-1 monocytic cells. CCL25 induced a stronger monocyte differentiation in RA compared to healthy donors. CCL25 induced significant chemotaxis of PB monocytes but not consistently among individuals.
CCR9 expression by monocytes is increased in RA. CCL25 may be involved in the differentiation of monocytes to macrophages particularly in RA.
PMCID: PMC2945064  PMID: 20738854
11.  Role of chemokines and their receptors in viral persistence and liver damage during chronic hepatitis C virus infection 
Chemokines produced in the liver during hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection induce migration of activated T cells from the periphery to infected parenchyma. The milieu of chemokines secreted by infected hepatocytes is predominantly associated with the T-helper/T-cytotoxic type-1 cell (Th1/Tc1) response. These chemokines consist of CCL3 (macrophage inflammatory protein-1α; MIP-1α), CCL4 (MIP-1β), CCL5 (regulated on activation normal T cell expressed and secreted; RANTES), CXCL10 (interferon-γ−inducible protein-10; IP-10), CXCL11 (interferon-inducible T-cell α chemoattractant; I-TAC), and CXCL9 (monokine induced by interferon γ; Mig) and they recruit T cells expressing either CCR5 or CXCR3 chemokine receptors. Intrahepatic and peripheral blood levels of these chemokines are increased during chronic hepatitis C. The interaction between chemokines and their receptors is essential in recruiting HCV-specific T cells to control the infection. When the adaptive immune response fails in this task, non-specific T cells without the capacity to control the infection are also recruited to the liver, and these are ultimately responsible for the persistent hepatic damage. The modulation of chemokine receptor expression and chemokine secretion could be a viral escape mechanism to avoid specific T cell migration to the liver during the early phase of infection, and to maintain liver viability during the chronic phase, by impairing non-specific T cell migration. Some chemokines and their receptors correlate with liver damage, and CXCL10 (IP-10) and CXCR3 levels have shown a clinical utility as predictors of treatment response outcome. The regulation of chemokines and their receptors could be a future potential therapeutic target to decrease liver inflammation and to increase specific T cell migration to the infected liver.
PMCID: PMC2776871  PMID: 19084927
Chemokines; Chemokine receptors; Hepatitis C virus; Viral hepatitis pathogenesis; Persistent infection; Viral escape mechanism
12.  Mouse CCL8, a CCR8 agonist, promotes atopic dermatitis by recruiting IL-5+ TH2 cells 
Nature immunology  2011;12(2):10.1038/ni.1984.
Mouse CCL8 is a CC chemokine of the monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP) family whose biological activity and receptor usage have remained elusive. Here we show that CCL8 is highly expressed in the skin, where it serves as an agonist for the chemokine receptor CCR8 but not for CCR2. This distinguishes CCL8 from all other MCP chemokines. CCL8 responsiveness defined a population of highly differentiated, CCR8-expressing inflammatory T helper type 2 (TH2) cells enriched for interleukin (IL)-5. Ccr8- and Ccl8-deficient mice had markedly less eosinophilic inflammation than wild-type or Ccr4-deficient mice in a model of chronic atopic dermatitis. Adoptive transfer studies established CCR8 as a key regulator of TH2 cell recruitment into allergen-inflamed skin. In humans, CCR8 expression also defined an IL-5–enriched TH2 cell subset. The CCL8-CCR8 chemokine axis is therefore a crucial regulator of TH2 cell homing that drives IL-5–mediated chronic allergic inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3863381  PMID: 21217759
13.  Why CCR2 and CCR5 Blockade Failed and Why CCR1 Blockade Might Still Be Effective in the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e21772.
The aim of this study was to provide more insight into the question as to why blockade of CCR1, CCR2, and CCR5 may have failed in clinical trials in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients, using an in vitro monocyte migration system model.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Monocytes from healthy donors (HD; n = 8) or from RA patients (for CCR2 and CCR5 antibody n = 8; for CCR1 blockade n = 13) were isolated from peripheral blood and pre-incubated with different concentrations of either anti-CCR1, anti-CCR2, or anti-CCR5 blocking antibodies (or medium or isotype controls). In addition, a small molecule CCR1 antagonist (BX471) was tested. Chemotaxis was induced by CCL2/MCP-1 (CCR2 ligand), CCL5/RANTES (CCR1 and CCR5 ligand), or by a mix of 5 RA synovial fluids (SFs), and cellular responses compared to chemotaxis in the presence of medium alone. Anti-CCR2 antibody treatment blocked CCL2/MCP-1-induced chemotaxis of both HD and RA monocytes compared to isotype control. Similarly, anti-CCR5 antibody treatment blocked CCL5/RANTES-induced chemotaxis of RA monocytes. While neither CCR2 nor CCR5 blocking antibodies were able to inhibit SF-induced monocyte chemotaxis, even when both receptors were blocked simultaneously, both anti-CCR1 antibodies and the CCR1 antagonist were able to inhibit SF-induced monocyte chemotaxis.
The RA synovial compartment contains several ligands for CCR1, CCR2, and CCR5 as well as other chemokines and receptors involved in monocyte recruitment to the site of inflammation. The results suggest that CCR2 and CCR5 are not critical for the migration of monocytes towards the synovial compartment in RA. In contrast, blockade of CCR1 may be effective. Conceivably, CCR1 blockade failed in clinical trials, not because CCR1 is not a good target, but because very high levels of receptor occupancy at all times may be needed to inhibit monocyte migration in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3128605  PMID: 21747955
14.  Association of elevated transcript levels of interferon-inducible chemokines with disease activity and organ damage in systemic lupus erythematosus patients 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2008;10(5):R112.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a multi-system autoimmune disease with a heterogeneous course and varying degrees of severity and organ damage; thus, there is increasing interest in identifying biomarkers for SLE. In this study we correlated the combined expression level of multiple interferon-inducible chemokines with disease activity, degree of organ damage and clinical features in SLE, and we investigated their roles as biomarkers.
Peripheral blood cells obtained from 67 patients with SLE patients, 20 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and 23 healthy donors were subjected to real-time PCR in order to measure the transcriptional levels of seven interferon-inducible chemokines (RANTES, MCP-1, CCL19, MIG, IP-10, CXCL11, and IL-8). The data were used to calculate a chemokine score for each participant, after which comparisons were performed between various groups of SLE patients and control individuals.
Chemokine scores were significantly elevated in SLE patients versus RA patients and healthy donors (P = 0.012 and P = 0.002, respectively). Chemokine scores were correlated positively with SLE Disease Activity Index 2000 scores (P = 0.005) and negatively with C3 levels (P < 0.001). Compared with patients without lupus nephritis and those with inactive lupus nephritis, chemokine scores were elevated in patients with active lupus nephritis, especially when their daily prednisone dosage was under 30 mg (P = 0.002 and P = 0.014, respectively). Elevated chemokine scores were also associated with the presence of cumulative organ damage (Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics/American Society of Rheumatology Damage Index ≥ 1; P = 0.010) and the occurrence of anti-Sm or anti-RNP autoantibodies (both P = 0.021).
The combined transcription level of interferon-inducible chemokines in peripheral blood leucocytes is closely associated with disease activity, degree of organ damage, and specific autoantibody patterns in SLE. The chemokine score may serve as a new biomarker for active and severe disease in SLE.
PMCID: PMC2592795  PMID: 18793417
15.  Green tea extract inhibits chemokine production, but up-regulates chemokine receptor expression, in rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts and rat adjuvant-induced arthritis 
Rheumatology (Oxford, England)  2009;49(3):467-479.
Objective. Evaluation of the efficacy of green tea extract (GTE) in regulating chemokine production and chemokine receptor expression in human RA synovial fibroblasts and rat adjuvant-induced arthritis (AIA).
Methods. Fibroblasts isolated from human RA synovium were used in the study. Regulated upon activation normal T cell expressed and secreted (RANTES)/CCL5, monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1/CCL2, growth-regulated oncogene (GRO)α/CXCL1 and IL-8/CXCL8 production was measured by ELISA. Western blotting was used to study the phosphorylation of protein kinase C (PKC)δ and c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNK). Chemokine and chemokine receptor expression was determined by quantitative RT–PCR. The benefit of GTE administration in rat AIA was determined.
Results. GTE (2.5–40 μg/ml) inhibited IL-1β-induced MCP-1/CCL2 (10 ng/ml), RANTES/CCL5, GROα/CXCL1 and IL-8/CXCL8 production in human RA synovial fibroblasts (P < 0.05). However, GTE inhibited MCP-1/CCL2 and GROα/CXCL1 mRNA synthesis in RA synovial fibroblasts. Furthermore, GTE also inhibited IL-1β-induced phosphorylation of PKCδ, the signalling pathway mediating IL-1β-induced chemokine production. Interestingly, GTE preincubation enhanced constitutive and IL-1β-induced CCR1, CCR2b, CCR5, CXCR1 and CXCR2 receptor expression. GTE administration (200 mg/kg/day p.o.) modestly ameliorated rat AIA, which was accompanied by a decrease in MCP-1/CCL2 and GROα/CXCL1 levels and enhanced CCR-1, -2, -5 and CXCR1 receptor expression in the joints of GTE administered rats.
Conclusions. Chemokine receptor overexpression with reduced chemokine production by GTE may be one potential mechanism to limit the overall inflammation and joint destruction in RA.
PMCID: PMC2820264  PMID: 20032224
Green tea; Chemokines; Chemokine receptors; Rheumatoid arthritis; Synovial fibroblasts; Complementary and alternative medicine; Adjuvant-induced arthritis
16.  The CCL2/CCR2 Axis Enhances Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 Expression in Human Synovial Fibroblasts 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e49999.
Chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2), also known as monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), belongs to the CC chemokine family that is associated with the disease status and outcomes of osteoarthritis (OA). Here, we investigated the intracellular signaling pathways involved in CCL2-induced vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) expression in human OA synovial fibroblasts (OASFs).
Methodology/Principal Findings
Stimulation of OASFs with CCL2 induced VCAM-1 expression. CCL2-mediated VCAM-1 expression was attenuated by CCR2 inhibitor (RS102895), PKCδ inhibitor (rottlerin), p38MAPK inhibitor (SB203580), and AP-1 inhibitors (curcumin and tanshinone IIA). Stimulation of cells with CCL2 increased PKCδ and p38MAPK activation. Treatment of OASFs with CCL2 also increased the c-Jun phosphorylation and c-Jun binding to the AP-1 element on the VCAM-1 promoter. Moreover, CCL2-mediated CCR2, PKCδ, p38MAPK, and AP-1 pathway promoted the adhesion of monocytes to the OASFs monolayer.
Our results suggest that CCL2 increases VCAM-1 expression in human OASFs via the CCR2, PKCδ, p38MAPK, c-Jun, and AP-1 signaling pathway. The CCL2-induced VCAM-1 expression promoted monocytes adhesion to human OASFs.
PMCID: PMC3503714  PMID: 23185512
17.  Differential binding of chemokines to macrophages and neutrophils in the human inflamed synovium 
Arthritis Research  2002;4(3):209-214.
In chronic inflammatory foci, such as the rheumatoid joint, there is enhanced recruitment of phagocytes from the blood into the tissues. Chemokines are strongly implicated in directing the migration of these cells, although little is known regarding the chemokine receptors that could mediate their chemotaxis into the joint tissue. Therefore the objective of the study was to identify chemokine binding sites on macrophages and neutrophils within the rheumatoid synovium using radiolabeled ligand binding and in situ autoradiography. Specific binding sites for CCL3 (macrophage inflammatory protein-1α), CCL5 (RANTES), CCL2 (monocyte chemoattractant protein-1) and CXCL8 (IL-8) were demonstrated on CD68+ macrophages in the subintimal and intimal layers. The number and percentage of intimal cells that bound chemokines were greater in inflamed regions compared to noninflamed regions. The intensity of intimal binding varied between chemokines with the rank order, CCL3 > CCL5 > CCL2 > CXCL8. Neutrophils throughout the synovium bound CXCL8 but did not show any signal for binding CCL2, CCL3 or CCL5.
Immunohistochemistry showed that both CXCR1 and CXCR2 are expressed by macrophages and neutrophils in the rheumatoid and nonrheumatoid synovia, suggesting that both of these receptors are responsible for the CXCL8 binding. The chemokine binding sites described on phagocytes may be involved in the migration of these cells into the inflamed joint.
PMCID: PMC111024  PMID: 12010572
chemokines; inflamed; receptors; synovium
18.  Interleukin-17–producing T cells are enriched in the joints of children with arthritis, but have a reciprocal relationship to regulatory T cell numbers 
Arthritis and Rheumatism  2008;58(3):875-887.
To identify interleukin-17 (IL-17)–producing T cells from patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), and investigate their cytokine production, migratory capacity, and relationship to Treg cells at sites of inflammation, as well as to test the hypothesis that IL-17+ T cell numbers correlate with clinical phenotype in childhood arthritis.
Flow cytometry was used to analyze the phenotype, cytokine production, and chemokine receptor expression of IL-17–producing T cells in peripheral blood and synovial fluid mononuclear cells from 36 children with JIA, in parallel with analysis of forkhead box P3 (FoxP3)–positive Treg cells. Migration of IL-17+ T cells toward CCL20 was assessed by a Transwell assay. Synovial tissue was analyzed by immunohistochemistry for IL-17 and IL-22.
IL-17+ T cells were enriched in the joints of children with JIA as compared with the blood of JIA patients (P = 0.0001) and controls (P = 0.018) and were demonstrated in synovial tissue. IL-17+ T cell numbers were higher in patients with extended oligoarthritis, the more severe subtype of JIA, as compared with patients with persistent oligoarthritis, the milder subtype (P = 0.046). Within the joint, there was an inverse relationship between IL-17+ T cells and FoxP3+ Treg cells (r = 0.61, P = 0.016). IL-17+,CD4+ T cells were uniformly CCR6+ and migrated toward CCL20, but synovial IL-17+ T cells had variable CCR4 expression. A proportion of IL-17+ synovial T cells produced IL-22 and interferon-γ.
This study is the first to define the frequency and characteristics of “Th17” cells in JIA. We suggest that these highly proinflammatory cells contribute to joint pathology, as indicated by relationships with clinical phenotypes, and that the balance between IL-17+ T cells and Treg cells may be critical to outcome.
PMCID: PMC2675006  PMID: 18311821
19.  Alveolar macrophages lack CCR2 expression and do not migrate to CCL2 
The recruitment of mononuclear cells has important implications for tissue inflammation. Previous studies demonstrated enhanced CCR1 and CCR5 expression and decreased CCR2 expression during in vitro monocyte to macrophage differentiation. To date, no study examined the in vivo differences in chemokine receptor expression between human peripheral blood monocytes and alveolar macrophages.
We examined the expression of these receptors in human peripheral blood monocytes and alveolar macrophages using microarray analysis, reverse-transcriptase PCR, flow cytometry and migration analyses.
In contrast to peripheral blood monocytes, alveolar macrophages did not express the CCL2 receptor, CCR2, and did not migrate toward CCL2. In contrast, monocytes and freshly isolated resident alveolar macrophages both migrated towards CCL3. However, up to 6-fold more monocytes migrated toward equivalent concentrations of CCL3 than did alveolar macrophages from the same donor. While peripheral blood monocytes expressed the CCL3 receptor, CCR1, alveolar macrophages expressed the alternate CCL3 receptor, CCR5. The addition of anti-CCR5 blocking antibodies completely abrogated CCL3-induced migration in alveolar macrophages, but did not affect the migration of peripheral blood monocytes.
These data support the specificity of CCL2 to selectively drive monocyte, but not alveolar macrophage recruitment to the lung and CCR5 as the primary macrophage receptor for CCL3.
PMCID: PMC2099427  PMID: 17888174
20.  Preferential type 1 chemokine receptors and cytokine production of CD28− T cells in ankylosing spondylitis 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2005;65(5):647-653.
To examine serum levels of type 1 and type 2 chemokines and lymphocytic expression of chemokine receptors, and to compare the results with lymphocytic cytokine production in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS).
Twelve patients with AS (mean (SD) age 44.9 (14.7) years) and 27 healthy controls (46.4 (12.8) years) were enrolled into the study. The expression of chemokine receptors (CCR‐5, CXCR‐3, CCR‐4) and cytokines (interferon γ (IFNγ), interleukin (IL)2, IL4, IL10, tumour necrosis factor α (TNFα)) on CD28+ and CD28− T cell subtypes was analysed by a three colour FACS technique of peripheral blood samples. Serum ELISAs were performed to detect the CCR‐5 ligands CCL‐5, CCL‐3; the CXCR‐3 ligands CXCL‐10, CXCL‐9; and the CCR‐4 ligand, CCL‐17 before and after administration of the TNFα blocking agent infliximab.
CD4+CD28− T cells had higher ratios of CXCR‐3 to CCR‐4 than CD4+CD28+ T cells. Both, CD4+ and CD8+CD28− T cells of patients with AS produced more IFNγ, TNFα, and IL10 than their CD28+ counterparts (p<0.05), and lacked the production of IL2 and IL4. Serum levels of CXCL‐9 were increased in patients with AS to 59.2 pg/ml (34.1–730.5) compared with 32.5 pg/ml (20.0–79.5) in healthy controls (p = 0.016). The levels of both type 1 (CCL‐5, CXCL‐9) and type 2 chemokines (CCL‐17) decreased under blockade of TNFα (p<0.05).
The profile of chemokine receptor expression and cytokine production by CD28− T cells suggests a type 1 immune reaction in AS, although IL10 is frequently produced by CD28− T cells. Treatment with TNFα blocking antibodies decreased both types of chemokines in patients' sera.
PMCID: PMC1798130  PMID: 16219708
ankylosing spondylitis; chemokines; chemokine receptors; cytokines; tumour necrosis factor α
21.  Possible Association between Expression of Chemokine Receptor-2 (CCR2) and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Patients of North India 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e38382.
Background and Objectives
We earlier reported elevated chemokine ligand-2 (CCL2) in Indian amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients. We now analysed chemokine receptor-2 (CCR2), the receptor of CCL2, in these ALS patients.
Indian sporadic ALS patients (n = 50) were included on the basis of El Escorial criteria. Percentage (%) of CCR2 expressing peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) was evaluated using Flow Cytometry. Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) was used to quantitate CCR2 mRNA expression in PBMCs. Normal controls (n = 40) were also included for comparison.
Flow Cytometry revealed significantly reduced CCR2 expressing PBMCs in the ALS patients. We also found a significant decline in number of CCR2 expressing PBMCs in limb onset ALS when compared to bulbar onset ALS. PBMCs from ALS patients showed substantial down-regulation of CCR2 mRNA. CCR2 mRNA expression was found to be decreased among limb ALS patients as compared to bulbar onset ALS. Further, the count of CCR2+ PBMCs and CCR2 mRNA transcript in PBMCs was significantly lower in severe and moderate ALS as compared to ALS patients with mild impairments.
Downregulation of PBMCs CCR2 may indicate its etio-pathological relevance in ALS pathogenesis. Reduced PBMCs CCR2 may result in decreased infiltration of leukocytes at the site of degeneration as a compensatory response to ALS. CCR2 levels measurements in hematopoietic stem cells and estimation of comparative PBMCs count among ALS, disease controls and normal controls can unveil its direct neuroprotective role. However, the conclusions are restricted by the absence of neurological/non-neurological disease controls in the study.
PMCID: PMC3369904  PMID: 22685564
22.  Differential regulation of CCL21 in lymphoid/nonlymphoid tissues for effectively attracting T cells to peripheral tissues 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2003;112(10):1495-1505.
CC chemokine ligand 21 (CCL21)/secondary lymphoid chemokine (SLC), a ligand for CC chemokine receptor 7 (CCR7), has been demonstrated to play a vital role in the homing and localization of immune cells to lymphoid tissues, but its role in nonlymphoid tissues largely remains undefined. Here, we provide evidence that CCL21 in lymphoid and nonlymphoid tissues is differentially regulated by lymphotoxin-dependent (LT-dependent) and -independent mechanisms, respectively. This differential regulation is due to the selective regulation of the CCL21-Ser/CCL21a but not the CCL21-Leu/CCL21b gene by the LT and noncanonical NF-κB pathways. This alternate pathway, not dependent on LT or lymphocytes, leading to constitutive expression of CCL21 in nonlymphoid tissues, is critical for the initial recruitment of T lymphocytes to peripheral effector sites. CCL21 expression is subsequently further enhanced in a LT-dependent fashion following airway challenge, potentially facilitating a positive feedback loop to attract additional CCR7+ effector cells. These findings establish an essential role for CCL21 in the recruitment of effector T cells to peripheral tissues and suggest that LT-dependent and -independent regulation of CCL21 plays a role in balancing the central and peripheral immune responses between lymphoid and nonlymphoid tissues.
PMCID: PMC259130  PMID: 14617751
23.  Expression of the inflammatory chemokines CCL5, CCL3 and CXCL10 in juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and demonstration of CCL5 production by an atypical subset of CD8+ T cells 
This study focuses upon three chemokines, namely CCL5, CXCL10 and CCL3, which are potential novel therapeutic targets in arthritis. The aim of the study was to analyse the expression and production of these three chemokines within the joints of children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) of the oligoarticular and polyarticular subtypes. All three of these chemokines are highly expressed at the level of mRNA, with the most significant increase in mRNA levels being demonstrated for CCL5 when compared with matched peripheral blood samples and controls. We show that high levels of all three chemokines are present in synovial fluid of children with JIA. We investigate the major source of CCL5 from inflammatory synovial cells, which we show to be CD8+ T cells. This CD8+ synovial T cell population has an unexpected phenotype that has not been described previously, being CCR7- yet predominantly CD28+ and CD45RA-. These cells contain high levels of stored intracellular CCL5, and rapid release of CCL5 takes place on T cell stimulation, without requiring new protein synthesis. In addition, we demonstrate that CCL5 is present in synovial biopsies from these patients, in particular on the endothelium of small and medium sized vessels. We believe this to be the first in depth analysis of these mediators of inflammation in JIA.
PMCID: PMC1526593  PMID: 16507178
24.  Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in MCP-1 and Its Receptor Are Associated with the Risk of Age Related Macular Degeneration 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e49905.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the elderly population. We have shown previously that mice deficient in monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP1/CCL2) or its receptor (CCR2) develop the features of AMD in senescent mice, however, the human genetic evidence so far is contradictory. We hypothesized that any dysfunction in the CCL2 and its receptor result could be the contributing factor in pathogenesis of AMD.
Methods and Findings
133 AMD patients and 80 healthy controls were enrolled for this study. Single neucleotid Polymorphism for CCL2 and CCR2 was analyzed by real time PCR. CCL2 levels were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) after normalization to total serum protein and percentage (%) of CCR2 expressing peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) was evaluated using Flow Cytometry. The genotype and allele frequency for both CCL2 and CCR2 was found to be significantly different between AMD and normal controls. The CCL2 ELISA levels were significantly higher in AMD patients and flow Cytometry analysis revealed significantly reduced CCR2 expressing PBMCs in AMD patients as compared to normal controls.
We analyzed the association between single neucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of CCL2 (rs4586) and CCR2 (rs1799865) with their respective protein levels. Our results revealed that individuals possessing both SNPs are at a higher risk of development of AMD.
PMCID: PMC3503775  PMID: 23185481
25.  Involvement of CCR6/CCL20/IL-17 Axis in NSCLC Disease Progression 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e24856.
Autocrine and paracrine chemokine/chemokine receptor-based interactions promote non-small-cell-lung-cancer (NSCLC) carcinogenesis. CCL20/CCR6 interactions are involved in prostatic and colonic malignancy pathogenesis. The expression and function of CCL20/CCR6 and its related Th-17 type immune response in NSCLC is not yet defined. We sought to characterize the role of the CCL20/CCR6/IL-17 axis in NSCLC tumor growth.
A specialized histopathologist blindly assessed CCL20/CCR6 expression levels in 49 tissue samples of NSCLC patients operated in our department. Results were correlated to disease progression. Colony assays, ERK signaling and chemokine production were measured to assess cancer cell responsiveness to CCL20 and IL-17 stimulation.
CCL20 was highly expressed in the majority (38/49, 77.5%) of tumor samples. Only a minority of samples (8/49, 16.5%) showed high CCR6 expression. High CCR6 expression was associated with a shorter disease-free survival (P = 0.008) and conferred a disease stage-independent 4.87-fold increased risk for disease recurrence (P = 0.0076, CI 95% 1.52–15.563). Cancerous cell colony-forming capacity was increased by CCL20 stimulation; this effect was dependent in part on ERK phosphorylation and signaling. IL-17 expression was detected in NSCLC; IL-17 potentiated the production of CCL20 by cancerous cells.
Our findings suggest that the CCL20/CCR6 axis promotes NSCLC disease progression. CCR6 is identified as a potential new prognostic marker and the CCL20/CCR6/IL-17 axis as a potential new therapeutic target. Larger scale studies are required to consolidate these observations.
PMCID: PMC3174223  PMID: 21949768

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