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1.  Addition of Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Blocker to CCR2 Antagonist Markedly Attenuates Crescentic Glomerulonephritis 
Hypertension  2011;57(3):586-593.
The monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1)/CC-chemokine receptor 2 (CCR2) pathway plays a critical role in the development of antiglomerular basement membrane (anti-GBM) nephritis. We recently showed angiotensin II (Ang II) infusion in rats activated MCP-1 and transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1), which in turn induced macrophage infiltration of renal tissues. This study was performed to demonstrate that combination therapy with a CCR2 antagonist (CA) and an Ang II type 1 receptor blocker (ARB) ameliorated renal injury in the anti-GBM nephritis model. An anti-GBM nephritis rat model developed progressive proteinuria and glomerular crescent formation, accompanied by increased macrophage infiltration and glomerular expression of MCP-1, angiotensinogen, Ang II, and TGF-β1. Treatment with CA alone or ARB alone moderately ameliorated kidney injury; however, the combination treatment with CA and ARB dramatically prevented proteinuria and markedly reduced glomerular crescent formation. The combination treatment also suppressed the induction of macrophage infiltration, MCP-1, angiotensinogen, Ang II, and TGF-β1 and reversed the fibrotic change in the glomeruli. Next, primary cultured glomerular mesangial cells (MCs) stimulated by Ang II showed significant increases in MCP-1 and TGF-β1 expression. Furthermore, cocultured model consisting of MCs, parietal epithelial cells, and macrophages showed an increase in Ang II-induced cell proliferation and collagen secretion. ARB treatment attenuated these augmentations. These data suggest that Ang II enhances glomerular crescent formation of anti-GBM nephritis. Moreover, our results demonstrate that inhibition of the MCP-1/CCR2 pathway with a combination of ARB effectively reduces renal injury in anti-GBM nephritis.
PMCID: PMC3048031  PMID: 21282555
renin-angiotensin system; crescentic glomerulonephritis; MCP-1; CCR2 antagonist; TGF-β1
2.  Monocyte chemotactic protein 3 is a most effective basophil- and eosinophil-activating chemokine 
CC chemokines constitute a novel class of cytokines that attract and activate monocytes and lymphocytes, as well as basophil and eosinophil leukocytes, with distinct target cell profiles, and are believed to be involved in the regulation of different types of inflammation. The action of the recently identified monocyte chemotactic protein 3 (MCP- 3) on human basophil and eosinophil function was studied and compared with that of other CC chemokines. In basophils, MCP-3, MCP-1, RANTES, and macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1 alpha all induced cytosolic- free calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i) changes and, with different efficacies, chemotaxis (RANTES = MCP-3 >> MCP-1 > MIP-1 alpha), histamine release (MCP-1 = MCP-3 >> RANTES > MIP-1 alpha), and leukotriene C4 formation, after IL-3 pretreatment (MCP-1 = MCP-3 >> RANTES > MIP-1 alpha). Thus, MCP-3 was as effective as MCP-1 as an inducer of mediator release, and as effective as RANTES as a stimulus of basophil migration. In contrast to MCP-1, MCP-3 was also a stimulus for eosinophils, and induced [Ca2+]i changes and chemotaxis as effectively as RANTES, which is the most potent chemotactic cytokine for these cells. Desensitization of the transient changes in [Ca2+]i was used to assess receptor usage. In basophils, stimulation with MCP-3 prevented responsiveness to MCP-1 and RANTES, but not to MIP-1 alpha. No single CC chemokine (except for MCP-3 itself) affected the response to MCP-3, however, which was prevented only when the cells were prestimulated with both MCP-1 and RANTES. In eosinophils, by contrast, cross-desensitization between RANTES and MCP-3 was obtained. RANTES and to a lesser extent MCP-3 also desensitized eosinophils toward MIP-1 alpha. The desensitization data suggest the existence of three chemokine receptors: (a) a MCP-1 receptor expressed on basophils but not eosinophils that is activated by MCP-1 and MCP-3; (b) a RANTES receptor in basophils and eosinophils that is activated by RANTES and MCP-3; and (c) a MIP-1 alpha receptor that is activated by MIP-1 alpha, RANTES and, more weakly, by MCP-3. This study shows that MCP-3 combines the properties of RANTES, a powerful chemoattractant, and MCP-1, a highly effective stimulus of mediator release, and thus has a particularly broad range of activities toward both human basophil and eosinophil leukocytes.
PMCID: PMC2191381  PMID: 7507512
3.  The Coordinated Action of CC Chemokines in the Lung Orchestrates Allergic Inflammation and Airway Hyperresponsiveness  
The complex pathophysiology of lung allergic inflammation and bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) that characterize asthma is achieved by the regulated accumulation and activation of different leukocyte subsets in the lung. The development and maintenance of these processes correlate with the coordinated production of chemokines. Here, we have assessed the role that different chemokines play in lung allergic inflammation and BHR by blocking their activities in vivo. Our results show that blockage of each one of these chemokines reduces both lung leukocyte infiltration and BHR in a substantially different way. Thus, eotaxin neutralization reduces specifically BHR and lung eosinophilia transiently after each antigen exposure. Monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-5 neutralization abolishes BHR not by affecting the accumulation of inflammatory leukocytes in the airways, but rather by altering the trafficking of the eosinophils and other leukocytes through the lung interstitium. Neutralization of RANTES (regulated upon activation, normal T cell expressed and secreted) receptor(s) with a receptor antagonist decreases significantly lymphocyte and eosinophil infiltration as well as mRNA expression of eotaxin and RANTES. In contrast, neutralization of one of the ligands for RANTES receptors, macrophage-inflammatory protein 1α, reduces only slightly lung eosinophilia and BHR. Finally, MCP-1 neutralization diminishes drastically BHR and inflammation, and this correlates with a pronounced decrease in monocyte- and lymphocyte-derived inflammatory mediators. These results suggest that different chemokines activate different cellular and molecular pathways that in a coordinated fashion contribute to the complex pathophysiology of asthma, and that their individual blockage results in intervention at different levels of these processes.
PMCID: PMC2525544  PMID: 9653092
chemokines; allergic inflammation; bronchial hyperresponsiveness; eosinophilia; leukocytes
4.  Chemokines in the limbal form of vernal keratoconjunctivitis 
The British Journal of Ophthalmology  2000;84(12):1360-1366.
BACKGROUND/AIMS—Chemokines are a family of low molecular weight cytokines that attract and activate leucocytes. The CC chemokines act on eosinophils, basophils, monocytes, and lymphocytes, suggesting that they play an important part in allergic diseases. The aims of this study were to investigate the expression of the CC chemokines, RANTES, eotaxin, monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP) 1, MCP-2, and MCP-3 in the conjunctiva of patients with vernal keratoconjunctivitis (VKC) and to determine the cellular source of these chemokines.
METHODS—Conjunctival biopsy specimens from nine subjects with active VKC, and six control subjects were studied by immunohistochemical techniques using a panel of monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies directed against RANTES, eotaxin, MCP-1, MCP-2, and MCP-3. The phenotype of inflammatory cells expressing chemokines was examined by sequential double immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS—In the normal conjunctiva, superficial epithelial cells showed a constitutive, weak cytoplasmic expression of eotaxin. Few inflammatory cells in the perivascular areas expressed RANTES, MCP-1, MCP-2, and MCP-3. In VKC specimens, the epithelium showed intense cytoplasmic eotaxin staining in all cells, and cytoplasmic RANTES staining mainly in the superficial layers. Furthermore, RANTES and eotaxin were expressed on the vascular endothelium mainly in the upper substantia propria. Compared with normal controls, VKC specimens showed significantly more inflammatory cells expressing RANTES, eotaxin, MCP-1, and MCP-3 (p<0.001, 0.0028, 0.0092, and <0.001, respectively). In VKC specimens, the numbers of inflammatory cells expressing RANTES were significantly higher than the numbers of inflammatory cells expressing eotaxin, MCP-1, and MCP-2 (all p values <0.001). Colocalisation studies revealed that the majority of inflammatory cells expressing chemokines were CD68 positive monocytes/macrophages.
CONCLUSIONS—These results demonstrate an increase in the expression of RANTES, eotaxin, MCP-1, and MCP-3 in the conjunctiva of patients with VKC compared with control subjects. These data suggest a potential role for these chemokines in the pathogenesis of VKC. Antagonists of chemokine receptors may provide new therapeutic modalities in VKC.

PMCID: PMC1723358  PMID: 11090473
5.  Lack of chemokine receptor CCR1 enhances Th1 responses and glomerular injury during nephrotoxic nephritis 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1999;104(11):1549-1557.
During the development of nephrotoxic nephritis (NTN) in the mouse, we find that a variety of chemokines and chemokine receptors are induced: CCR1 (RANTES, MIP-1α), CCR2 (MCP-1), CCR5 (RANTES, MIP-1α, MIP-1β), CXCR2 (MIP-2), and CXCR3 (IP-10). Their timing of expression indicated that CXCR2 and CCR1 are probably important in the neutrophil-dependent heterologous phase of the disease, whereas CCR1, CCR2, CCR5, and CXCR3 accompany the subsequent mononuclear cell infiltration characteristic of autologous disease. We therefore assessed the role of CCR1 in NTN using CCR1–/– mice. We found that neutrophil accumulation in CCR1–/– mice was comparable to that in wild-type animals but that renal recruitment of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells and macrophages increased significantly. Moreover, CCR1–/– mice developed more severe glomerulonephritis than did controls, with greater proteinuria and blood urea nitrogen, as well as a higher frequency of crescent formation. In addition, CCR1–/– mice showed enhanced Th1 immune responses, including titers of antigen-specific IgG2a antibody, delayed-type hypersensitivity responses, and production of IFN-γ and TNF-α. Lastly, using recombinant proteins and transfected cells that overexpressed CCR1, we demonstrated that MIP-1α, but not RANTES, bound CCR1 and induced cell chemotaxis. Thus, rather than simply promoting leukocyte recruitment during NTN, CCR1 expression profoundly alters the effector phase of glomerulonephritis. Therapeutic targeting of chemokine receptors may, on occasion, exacerbate underlying disease.
J. Clin. Invest. 104:1549–1557 (1999).
PMCID: PMC409862  PMID: 10587518
6.  Urinary Transforming Growth Factor-beta 1 as a marker of response to immunosuppressive treatment, in patients with crescentic nephritis 
BMC Nephrology  2005;6:16.
Crescentic nephritis is characterized by formation of cellular crescents that soon become fibrotic and result in irreversible damage, unless an effective immunosuppressive therapy is rapidly commenced. TGF-β1 is involved in the development of crescents through various pathways. The aim of this study was to identify whether the determination of urinary TGF-β1 levels in patients with crescentic nephritis could be used as a marker of response to treatment.
Fifteen patients with crescentic nephritis were included in the study. The renal expression of TGF-β1 was estimated in biopsy sections by immunohistochemistry and urinary TGF-β1 levels were determined by quantitative sandwich enzyme immunoassay (EIA). TGF-β1 levels were determined at the time of renal biopsy, before the initiation of immunosuppressive treatment (corticosteroids, cyclophosphamide and plasma exchange). Twelve patients with other types of proliferative glomerulonephritis and ten healthy subjects were used as controls.
Improvement of renal function with immunosuppressive therapy was observed in 6 and stabilization in 4 patients (serum creatinine from 3.2 ± 1.5 to 1.4 ± 0.1 mg/dl and from 4.4 ± 1.2 to 4.1 ± 0.6 mg/dl, respectively). In 5 patients, with severe impairment of renal function who started on dialysis, no improvement was noted. The main histological feature differentiating these 5 patients from others with improved or stabilized renal function was the percentage patients with poor response to treatment were the percentage of glomeruli with crescents and the presence of ruptured Bowman's capsule and glomerular necrosis. Urinary TGF-β1 levels were significantly higher in patients who showed no improvement of renal function with immunosuppressive therapy (930 ± 126 ng/24 h vs. 376 ± 84 ng/24 h, p < 0.01). TGF-β1 was identified in crescents and tubular epithelial cells, whereas a significant correlation of TGF-β1 immunostaining with the presence of fibrocellular cresents was observed (r = 0.531, p < 0,05).
Increased TGF-β1 renal expression and urinary excretion that is related to the response to immunosuppressive therapy was observed in patients with crescentic nephritis. Evaluation of urinary TGF-β1 levels may be proved a useful marker of clinical outcome in patients with crescentic nephritis.
PMCID: PMC1327665  PMID: 16367998
7.  Absence of Monocyte Chemoattractant Protein 1 in Mice Leads to Decreased Local Macrophage Recruitment and Antigen-Specific T Helper Cell Type 1 Immune Response in Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis 
Monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1 plays a critical role in innate immunity by directing the migration of monocytes into inflammatory sites. Recent data indicated a function for this chemokine in adaptive immunity as a regulator of T cell commitment to T helper cell type 2 (Th2) effector function. Studies in a Th1-dependent animal model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), showed that MCP-1 was highly expressed in the central nervous system (CNS) of affected rodents, and MCP-1 antibodies could block relapses of the disease. Mice deficient for the major MCP-1 receptor, CC chemokine receptor (CCR)2, did not develop EAE after active immunization but generated effector cells that could transfer the disease to naive wild-type recipients. We analyzed EAE in mice deficient for MCP-1 to define the relevant ligand for CCR2, which responds to murine MCP-1, MCP-2, MCP-3, and MCP-5. We found that C57BL/6 MCP-1–null mice were markedly resistant to EAE after active immunization, with drastically impaired recruitment of macrophages to the CNS, yet able to generate effector T cells that transferred severe disease to naive wild-type recipients. By contrast, adoptive transfer of primed T cells from wild-type mice into naive MCP-1–null recipients did not mediate clinical EAE. On the SJL background, disruption of the MCP-1 gene produced a milder EAE phenotype with diminished relapses that mimicked previous findings using anti–MCP-1 antibodies. There was no compensatory upregulation of MCP-2, MCP-3, or MCP-5 in MCP-1–null mice with EAE. These results indicated that MCP-1 is the major CCR2 ligand in mice with EAE, and provided an opportunity to define the role of MCP-1 in EAE. Compared with wild-type littermates, MCP-1−/− mice exhibited reduced expression of interferon γ in draining lymph node and CNS and increased antigen-specific immunoglobulin G1 antibody production. Taken together, these data demonstrate that MCP-1 is crucial for Th1 immune responses in EAE induction and that macrophage recruitment to the inflamed CNS target organ is required for primed T cells to execute a Th1 effector program in EAE.
PMCID: PMC2193420  PMID: 11257138
autoimmune disease; chemokine; chemokine receptor; macrophage; T helper cell type 1/T helper cell type 2
8.  Neutralization of Macrophage Inflammatory Protein 2 (MIP-2) and MIP-1α Attenuates Neutrophil Recruitment in the Central Nervous System during Experimental Bacterial Meningitis 
Infection and Immunity  1999;67(5):2590-2601.
Chemokines are low-molecular-weight chemotactic cytokines that have been shown to play a central role in the perivascular transmigration and accumulation of specific subsets of leukocytes at sites of tissue damage. Using in situ hybridization (ISH), we investigated the mRNA induction of macrophage inflammatory protein 2 (MIP-2), MIP-1α, monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1), and RANTES. Challenge of infant rats’ brains with Haemophilus influenzae type b intraperitoneally resulted in the time-dependent expression of MIP-2, MIP-1α, MCP-1, and RANTES, which was maximal 24 to 48 h postinoculation. Immunohistochemistry showed significant increases in neutrophils and macrophages infiltrating the meninges, the ventricular system, and the periventricular area. The kinetics of MIP-2, MIP-1α, MCP-1, and RANTES mRNA expression paralleled those of the recruitment of inflammatory cells and disease severity. Administration of anti-MIP-2 or anti-MIP-1α antibodies (Abs) resulted in significant reduction of neutrophils. Administration of anti-MCP-1 Abs significantly decreased macrophage infiltration. Combined studies of ISH and immunohistochemistry showed that MIP-2- and MIP-1α-positive cells were neutrophils and macrophages. MCP-1-positive cells were neutrophils, macrophages, and astrocytes. Expression of RANTES was localized predominantly to resident astrocytes and microglia. The present study indicates that blocking of MIP-2 or MIP-1α bioactivity in vivo results in decreased neutrophil influx. These data are also the first demonstration that the C-C chemokine MIP-1α is involved in neutrophil recruitment in vivo.
PMCID: PMC116008  PMID: 10225925
9.  Angiotensin II plays a pathogenic role in immune-mediated renal injury in mice 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1999;103(5):627-635.
Several lines of evidence show the importance of angiotensin II (AII) in renal injuries, especially when hemodynamic abnormalities are involved. To elucidate the role of AII in immune-mediated renal injury, we studied anti–glomerular basement membrane (GBM) nephritis in AII type 1a receptor (AT1a)–deficient homozygous (AT1a–/–) and wild-type (AT1a+/+) mice. A transient activation of the renin–angiotensin system (RAS) was observed in both groups of mice at around day 1. A renal expression of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) was transiently induced at six hours in both groups, which was then downregulated at day 1. In the AT1a+/+ mice, after RAS activation, the glomerular expression of MCP-1 was exacerbated at days 7 and 14. Thereafter, severe proteinuria developed, and the renal expressions of transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) and collagen type I increased, resulting in severe glomerulosclerosis and interstitial fibrosis. In contrast, glomerular expression of MCP-1, proteinuria, and tissue damage were markedly ameliorated in the AT1a–/– mice. Because this amelioration is likely due to the lack of AT1a, we can conclude that AII action, mediated by AT1a, plays a pathogenic role in anti-GBM nephritis, in which AII may contribute to the exacerbation of glomerular MCP-1 expression. These results suggest the involvement of AII in immune-mediated renal injuries.
J. Clin. Invest. 103:627–635 (1999)
PMCID: PMC408115  PMID: 10074479
10.  The Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase p38α Regulates Tubular Damage in Murine Anti-Glomerular Basement Membrane Nephritis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56316.
p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) is thought to play a central role in acute and chronic inflammatory responses. Whether p38MAPK plays a pathogenic role in crescentic GN (GN) and which of its four isoforms is preferentially involved in kidney inflammation is not definitely known. We thus examined expression and activation of p38MAPK isoforms during anti-glomerular basement membrane (GBM) nephritis. Therefore, p38α conditional knockout mice (MxCre-p38αΔ/Δ) were used to examine the role of p38α in anti-GBM induced nephritis. Both wild type and MxCre-p38αΔ/Δ mice developed acute renal failure over time. Histological examinations revealed a reduced monocyte influx and less tubular damage in MxCre-p38αΔ/Δ mice, whereas glomerular crescent formation and renal fibrosis was similar. Likewise, the levels of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF, IL-1 and IL-10 were similar, but IL-8 was even up-regulated in MxCre-p38αΔ/Δ mice. In contrast, we could detect strong down-regulation of chemotactic cytokines such as CCL-2, -5 and -7, in the kidneys of MxCre-p38αΔ/Δ mice. In conclusion, p38α is the primary p38MAPK isoform expressed in anti-GBM nephritis and selectively affects inflammatory cell influx and tubular damage. Full protection from nephritis is however not achieved as renal failure and structural damage still occurs.
PMCID: PMC3575386  PMID: 23441175
11.  Monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1), -2, and -3 are chemotactic for human T lymphocytes. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1995;95(3):1370-1376.
Monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP)-1, -2, and -3 all have been shown to induce monocyte/macrophage migration in vitro and MCP-1, also known as MCAF, chemoattracts basophils and mast cells. We report here that natural MCP-1 as well as synthetic preparations of MCP-2 and MCP-3 stimulate significant in vitro chemotaxis of human peripheral blood T lymphocytes. This MCP-induced migration was dose-dependent and directional, but not chemokinetic. Phenotypic analysis of the T cell population responsive to MCP-1, MCP-2, and MCP-3 demonstrates that both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells migrated in response to these chemokines. Similar results were observed using human CD4+ and CD8+ T cell clones. Neutralizing antisera to MCAF or MCP-2 abrogated T cell migration in response to MCP-1 and MCP-2, respectively, but not to RANTES. Subcutaneous administration of purified MCP-1 into the hind flanks of SCID mice engrafted with human peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) induced significant human CD3+ T cell infiltration into the site of injection at 4 h. These results demonstrate that MCP-1, MCP-2, and MCP-3 are inflammatory mediators that specifically stimulate the directional migration of T cells as well as monocytes and may play an important role in immune cell recruitment into sites of antigenic challenge.
PMCID: PMC441477  PMID: 7883984
12.  Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) is involved in the regulation of hypoxia-stimulated expression of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1/CCL2) and MCP-5 (Ccl12) in astrocytes 
Neuroinflammation has been implicated in various brain pathologies characterized by hypoxia and ischemia. Astroglia play an important role in the initiation and propagation of hypoxia/ischemia-induced inflammation by secreting inflammatory chemokines that attract neutrophils and monocytes into the brain. However, triggers of chemokine up-regulation by hypoxia/ischemia in these cells are poorly understood. Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) is a dimeric transcriptional factor consisting of HIF-1α and HIF-1β subunits. HIF-1 binds to HIF-1-binding sites in the target genes and activates their transcription. We have recently shown that hypoxia-induced expression of IL-1β in astrocytes is mediated by HIF-1α. In this study, we demonstrate the role of HIF-1α in hypoxia-induced up-regulation of inflammatory chemokines, human monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1/CCL2) and mouse MCP-5 (Ccl12), in human and mouse astrocytes, respectively.
Primary fetal human astrocytes or mouse astrocytes generated from HIF-1α+/+ and HIF-1α+/- mice were subjected to hypoxia (<2% oxygen) or 125 μM CoCl2 for 4 h and 6 h, respectively. The expression of HIF-1α, MCP-1 and MCP-5 was determined by semi-quantitative RT-PCR, western blot or ELISA. The interaction of HIF-1α with a HIF-1-binding DNA sequence was examined by EMSA and supershift assay. HIF-1-binding sequence in the promoter of MCP-1 gene was cloned and transcriptional activation of MCP-1 by HIF-1α was analyzed by reporter gene assay.
Sequence analyses identified HIF-1-binding sites in the promoters of MCP-1 and MCP-5 genes. Both hypoxia and HIF-1α inducer, CoCl2, strongly up-regulated HIF-1α expression in astrocytes. Mouse HIF-1α+/- astrocytes had lower basal levels of HIF-1α and MCP-5 expression. The up-regulation of MCP-5 by hypoxia or CoCl2 in HIF-1α+/+ and HIF-1α+/- astrocytes was correlated with the levels of HIF-1α in cells. Both hypoxia and CoCl2 also up-regulated HIF-1α and MCP-1 expression in human astrocytes. EMSA assay demonstrated that HIF-1 activated by either hypoxia or CoCl2 binds to wild-type HIF-1-binding DNA sequence, but not the mutant sequence. Furthermore, reporter gene assay demonstrated that hypoxia markedly activated MCP-1 transcription but not the mutated MCP-1 promoter in transfected astrocytes.
These findings suggest that both MCP-1 and MCP-5 are HIF-1 target genes and that HIF-1α is involved in transcriptional induction of these two chemokines in astrocytes by hypoxia.
PMCID: PMC1872020  PMID: 17474992
13.  Effects of the mTOR inhibitor Rapamycin on Monocyte-Secreted Chemokines 
BMC Immunology  2014;15(1):37.
Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors, such as sirolimus and its derivative, everolimus, are potent immunosuppressive and antiproliferative drugs. Inflammatory diseases are characterized by immunological dysfunction, and monocyte recruitment underlies the mechanism of cell damage. Chemokines attract inflammatory cells to sites of inflammation. Interleukin-8 (IL-8/CXCL8); the monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1/CCL2); the regulated on activation, normal T cell expressed, presumably secreted protein (RANTES/CCL5); the macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1α (CCL3); and MIP-1β (CCL4) are involved in the pathogenesis of inflammation. However, whether mTOR inhibitors moderate the production of chemokines in monocytes remains unclear.
A human monocyte cell line, THP-1, and primary monocytes obtained from human volunteers, were stimulated using lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and then treated with sirolimus. The expression of the MCP-1, RANTES, IL-8, MIP-1α, MIP-1β, and TNF-α proteins was measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, and intracellular signalling was examined using western blotting.
Sirolimus significantly suppressed the LPS-induced expression of MCP-1, IL-8, RANTES, MIP-1α, and MIP-1β in the THP-1 cells and human primary monocytes. The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) inhibitors that were examined suppressed the LPS-induced expression of MCP-1, IL-8, RANTES, MIP-1α, and MIP-1β. In addition, sirolimus suppressed the LPS-induced phosphorylation of p38 and p65 in the THP-1 and human primary monocytes.
Sirolimus downregulates the expression of chemokines in monocytes, including MCP-1, RANTES, IL-8, MIP-1α, and MIP-1β, by inhibiting the NF-κB-p65 and MAPK-p38 signalling pathways.
PMCID: PMC4189728  PMID: 25257976
mTOR; Chemokine; Glomerulonephritis
14.  MCP-1 and RANTES Polymorphisms in Korean Diabetic End-Stage Renal Disease 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2007;22(4):611-615.
Macrophage infiltration has been observed in the renal biopsy specimens of diabetic nephropathy (DN), and hyperglycemic state stimulates the renal expression of RANTES (regulated upon activation, normal T-cell expressed and secreted) and MCP-1 (monocyte chemoattractant protein-1). Upregulation of RANTES and MCP-1 with infiltrating macrophages may play a crucial role in the development and progression of DN. Genetic polymorphisms of RANTES and its receptors were reported to be independent risk factors for DN. We genotyped single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) in the MCP-1 G-2518A, CCR2 G46295A, RANTES C-28G and G-403A in 177 diabetic end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients and 184 patients without renal involvement (controls) in order to investigate the effects of these SNPs on DN in Korean patients with type 2 DM. There were no differences in the frequencies of SNPs and the distribution of haplotypes of RANTES promoter SNPs between two groups. In conclusion, there were no associations of MCP-1, CCR2 and RANTES promoter SNPs with diabetic ESRD in Korean population. Prospective studies with clearly-defined, homogenous cohorts are needed to confirm the effect of these genetic polymorphisms on DN.
PMCID: PMC2693807  PMID: 17728497
Diabetic Nephropathies; Kidney Failure, Chronic; Monocyte Chemoattractant Proteins; RANTES; Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms; Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2
15.  Interaction of Neisseria meningitidis with Human Meningeal Cells Induces the Secretion of a Distinct Group of Chemotactic, Proinflammatory, and Growth-Factor Cytokines  
Infection and Immunity  2002;70(8):4035-4044.
The interactions of Neisseria meningitidis with cells of the leptomeninges are pivotal events in the progression of bacterial leptomeningitis. An in vitro model based on the culture of human meningioma cells was used to investigate the role of the leptomeninges in the inflammatory response. Following challenge with meningococci, meningioma cells secreted specifically the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6), the CXC chemokine IL-8, the CC chemokines monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1) and regulated-upon-activation, normal-T-cell expressed and secreted protein (RANTES), and the cytokine growth factor granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF). A temporal pattern of cytokine production was observed, with early secretion of IL-6, IL-8, and MCP-1 followed by later increases in RANTES and GM-CSF levels. IL-6 was induced equally by the interactions of piliated and nonpiliated meningococci, whereas lipopolysaccharide (LPS) had a minimal effect, suggesting that other, possibly secreted, bacterial components were responsible. Induction of IL-8 and MCP-1 also did not require adherence of bacteria to meningeal cells, but LPS was implicated. In contrast, efficient stimulation of RANTES by intact meningococci required pilus-mediated adherence, which served to deliver increased local concentrations of LPS onto the surface of meningeal cells. Secretion of GM-CSF was induced by pilus-mediated interactions but did not involve LPS. In addition, capsule expression had a specific inhibitory effect on GM-CSF secretion, which was not observed with IL-6, IL-8, MCP-1, or RANTES. Thus, the data demonstrate that cells of the leptomeninges are not inert but are active participants in the innate host response during leptomeningitis and that there is a complex relationship between expression of meningococcal components and cytokine induction.
PMCID: PMC128145  PMID: 12117909
16.  Anti-monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 gene therapy attenuates experimental chronic pancreatitis induced by dibutyltin dichloride in rats 
Gut  2005;54(12):1759-1767.
Background: Monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1) is a member of the C-C chemokine family and exerts strong chemoattractant activity in monocytes, macrophages, and lymphocytes. Rat pancreatic fibrosis induced by dibutyltin dichloride (DBTC) is considered to be an appropriate chronic pancreatitis model histologically and enzymatically, as has demonstrated in a previous study.
Aim: We examined the effect of human dominant negative inhibitor of MCP-1 (mutant MCP-1) on progression of chronic pancreatitis induced by DBTC in a rat model.
Methods: We used the experimental model of chronic pancreatitis induced by DBTC in rats. Mutant MCP-1 or empty plasmid at a dose of 50 µg/body weight was administrated into rat thigh muscles on days 4, 11, and 18 after administration of DBTC. On days 14 and 28, we evaluated the effect of mutant MCP-1 morphologically and biochemically.
Results: The mutant MCP-1 treated group inhibited early pancreatic inflammation and later pancreatic fibrosis histologically, and showed a decrease in serum MCP-1 concentration, intrapancreatic hydroxyproline, α-smooth muscle actin, and an increase in intrapancreatic amylase and protein content compared with the empty plasmid treated group. The mutant MCP-1 group also inhibited intrapancreatic mRNA expression of cytokines and chemokines.
Conclusions: : Our findings suggest that monocyte/macrophage recruitment and the systemic MCP-1 signal pathway contribute to progression of chronic pancreatitis, and that blockade of MCP-1 may suppress the development of pancreatic fibrosis.
PMCID: PMC1774795  PMID: 16284287
anti-monocyte chemoattractant protein 1; gene therapy; chronic pancreatitis; dibutyltin dichloride; rats; C-C chemokine receptor; pancreatic fibrosis
17.  Antibodies to intercellular adhesion molecule 1/lymphocyte function- associated antigen 1 prevent crescent formation in rat autoimmune glomerulonephritis 
In patients with glomerulonephritis widespread crescents are associated with a poor prognosis. Crescent formation appears to depend on the migration of mononuclear cells into Bowman's space, and therefore the interaction between leukocytes and glomerular endothelium may be a critical event in the genesis of crescents. We performed the present study to determine the effects of mouse monoclonal antibodies to the adhesion molecules intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) and lymphocyte function-associated antigen 1 (LFA-1) in a model of crescentic glomerulonephritis in Wistar-Kyoto rats, induced by immunization with bovine glomerular basement membrane (GBM). By 10-14 d after immunization, the rats had developed circulating anti-GBM antibodies, reactive with the alpha 3 chain of type IV collagen (the Goodpasture antigen), accompanied by proteinuria, accumulation of rat immunoglobulin (Ig)G in the GBM, increased expression of ICAM-1 by glomerular endothelial cells, infiltration of glomerular tufts with LFA- 1+ T cells and monocyte/macrophages, and early crescents. At 5 wk all rats had diffuse fibrocellular crescents, glomerular sclerosis, and tubulointerstitial damage. All rats developed severe renal insufficiency and died by 5 or 6 wk. The administration of monoclonal antibodies to rat ICAM-1 and LFA-1 markedly decreased the severity of the renal disease. In a group of rats injected three times a week with the monoclonal antibodies, from 2 d before immunization with GBM to day 14, glomerular abnormalities and proteinuria were virtually absent at day 14; even at 5 wk glomerular disease was quite mild, with only slight crescent formation and with only a mild decrease in renal function. When treatment was continued until 5 wk, the beneficial effects were even more marked, with virtual absence of crescents and with preservation of normal renal function. In a group of rats in which treatment was initiated on day 14, shortly after the appearance of glomerular abnormalities, progression of the disease was appreciably retarded, and the decrease in renal function was inhibited. The kidneys of rats treated from days -2 to 14 with antibodies to ICAM-1 and LFA-1 showed bright linear staining for rat IgG along the GBM, which did not differ in intensity from that seen in untreated rats. Furthermore, the titers of anti-GBM antibodies at 2 wk in treated rats were not lower than that seen in most of the untreated rats. There was, however, moderate reduction of anti-GBM antibodies at 5 wk in the treated rats.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
PMCID: PMC2190927  PMID: 8094735
It has been shown in this paper that structural and functional changes in acute glomerular nephritis in rabbits produced by nephrotoxins by the method of Masugi are the same as those found in human glomerular nephritis. The morbid anatomy is characterized by glomerular cell proliferation, and in some cases by deposition of fibrin and crescent formation of the glomeruli and by fatty changes of the tubules. The functional changes are: oliguria, proteinuria, hematuria, cylindruria, edema, rise in blood urea, and according to Masugi (1933, 1934) and Smadel (1936, 1937), rise in blood pressure, lipuria, and fall in urea clearance and plasma proteins. As we are unaware of any discrepancies between the experimentally induced disease and human nephritis, the conclusion follows that the two so closely resemble each other that they appear to be identical. As to the pathogenesis, it has been shown that the disease begins with a period of latency. This is characterizied anatomically by hyperemia of the glomeruli; and functionally, in at least a number of cases, by an increased diuresis. It follows, therefore, that the theory of Volhard, according to which glomerular nephritis is caused by arteriolar spasms, can no longer be maintained. It has further been demonstrated that proliferation of glomerular cells is the typical lesion, and that deposition of fibrin and crescent formation occur only in certain cases, and in these only in a widely varying number of glomeruli. As crescents are found as early as the proliferation itself, it follows that they should not be regarded as pathognomonic of the subacute phase, but that they represent a complication which probably aggravates the disease. As to correlation of morphological and functional changes, it has been demonstrated that oliguria, marked proteinuria and diminished excretion of cyanol appear at the time when the glomerular changes are at their peak. Evidence has been presented that the oliguria and the decrease in cyanol excretion in acute glomerular nephritis are chiefly the result of the glomerular damage. It has further been demonstrated that the excretion of azofuchsin was unchanged, except for a diminution in the rabbit which at autopsy showed a marked fatty change of the tubules. We regard these observations as evidence, that, in acute glomerular nephritis in rabbits, glomeruli and tubules may function independently of each other.
PMCID: PMC2133628  PMID: 19870754
19.  Mouse Mast Cell Protease-4 Deteriorates Renal Function by Contributing to Inflammation and Fibrosis in Immune Complex-Mediated Glomerulonephritis 
Mast cells exert protective effects in experimental antiglomerular basement membrane-induced glomerulonephritis (GN), yet the responsible mediators have not been identified. In this study, we investigated the role of mouse mast cell protease (mMCP)-4, the functional homolog of human chymase, using mMCP-4–deficient mice. Compared with wild type animals, mMCP-4–deficient mice exhibited lower proteinuria, blood creatinine, and blood urea nitrogen levels, indicating an aggravating role of mMCP-4. Kidney histology confirmed less severe renal damage in mMCP-4–deficient mice with reduced deposits, glomerular and interstitial cellularity, and fibrosis scores. High amounts of mMCP-4 were detected in renal capsules, but not in the whole kidney, from wild type mice. Its expression in renal capsules was markedly decreased after GN induction, suggesting that locally released enzyme by degranulated mast cells could contribute to the functional and physiopathological hallmarks of GN. Supporting a proinflammatory role, glomerular and interstitial macrophage and T cell infiltration, levels of proinflammatory TNF and MCP-1 mRNA, and the expression of the profibrotic peptide angiotensin II together with type I collagen were markedly down-regulated in kidneys of mMCP-4–deficient mice. We conclude that mMCP-4 chymase, contrary to the global anti-inflammatory action of mast cells, aggravates GN by promoting kidney inflammation. These results highlight the complexity of mast cell-mediated inflammatory actions and suggest that chymase inhibition may represent a novel therapeutic target in GN.
PMCID: PMC2980698  PMID: 20530261
20.  RANTES and MCP-3 inhibit the replication of T-cell-tropic human immunodeficiency virus type 1 strains (SF-2, MN, and HE). 
Journal of Virology  1997;71(10):7300-7304.
The effects of the C-C chemokines RANTES (regulation upon activation normal T-cell expressed and secreted) and MCP-3 (monocyte chemotactic protein 3) on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) replication in normal human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) activated in vitro with phytohemagglutinin (PHA) were investigated. The following T-cell line-tropic (T-tropic) HIV strains were tested: HIV type 1 (HIV-1) SF-2, HIV-1 IIIB, HIV-1 MN, HIV-1 NDK, HIV-1 HE, HIV-1 NL4-3, HIV-2 ROD, and HIV-2 EHO. The strain most sensitive to the antiviral effects of RANTES and MCP-3 appeared to be HIV-1 SF-2. A 50% inhibitory concentration for HIV-1 SF-2 of 4 ng of RANTES per ml was obtained, and that of MCP-3 was about 1 ng/ml. However, MCP-3 was inactive at 100 ng/ml. Other HIV-1 strains, such as MN and HE, were less sensitive to the antiviral effects of RANTES and MCP-3, whereas all the other HIV strains tested were insensitive. Although the ratio of CD3+ CD4+ to CD3+ CD8+ T cells was the same in HIV-infected PBMC cultures treated or untreated with the chemokines, RANTES and MCP-3 interfered with the binding of monoclonal antibody (MAb) OKT4 to the CD4 receptor on T cells but not with the binding of MAb OKT4A. Therefore, RANTES and MCP-3 not only interfere with the HIV-induced fusion process but also have some modulating effect on the CD4 cell receptor. The chemokines did not affect HIV-1 binding to PHA-stimulated PBMC. Taken together, our observations point to the important role that both RANTES and MCP-3 may play in inhibiting HIV-1 replication of certain T-tropic strains in primary PBMC cultures. This may have important implications for immunotherapeutic strategies designed to slow down disease progression in AIDS.
PMCID: PMC192073  PMID: 9311806
21.  Monocytic Fibroblast Precursors Mediate Fibrosis in Angiotensin-II-induced Cardiac Hypertrophy 
Angiotensin-II (Ang-II) is an autacoid generated as part of the pathophysiology of cardiac hypertrophy and failure. In addition to its role in cardiac and smooth muscle contraction and salt retention, it was shown to play a major role in the cardiac interstitial inflammatory response and fibrosis accompanying cardiac failure. In this study, we examined a model of Ang-II infusion to clarify the early cellular mechanisms linking interstitial fibrosis with the onset of the tissue inflammatory response. Continuous infusion of Ang-II resulted in increased deposition of collagen in the heart. Ang-II infusion also resulted in the appearance of distinctive small, spindle-shaped, bone marrow-derived CD34+/CD45+ fibroblasts that expressed collagen type I and the cardiac fibroblast marker DDR2 while structural fibroblasts were CD34-/CD45-. Genetic deletion of monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1 (MCP-1-KO mice) prevented the Ang-II-induced cardiac fibrosis and the appearance of CD34+/CD45+ fibroblasts. Real-time PCR in Ang-II-treated hearts revealed a striking induction of types I and III collagen, TGF-β1, and TNF mRNA expression; this was obviated in Ang-II-infused MCP-1-KO hearts. In both wild-type and MCP-1-KO mice, Ang-II infusion resulted in cardiac hypertrophy, increased systolic function and hypertension which were not significantly different between the WT and MCP-1-KO mice over the 6 week course of infusion. In conclusion, the development of Ang-II-induced non-adaptive fibrosis in the heart required induction of MCP-1, which modulated the uptake and differentiation of a CD34+/CD45+ fibroblast precursor population. In contrast to the inflammatory and fibrotic response, the hemodynamic response to Ang-II was not affected by MCP-1 in the first 6 weeks.
PMCID: PMC2917526  PMID: 20488188
fibroblasts; collagen; inflammation; angiotensin; monocyte chemoattractant protein-1; monocytes; progenitor cells
22.  High expression of the chemokine receptor CCR3 in human blood basophils. Role in activation by eotaxin, MCP-4, and other chemokines. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1997;100(5):1137-1143.
Eosinophil leukocytes express high numbers of the chemokine receptor CCR3 which binds eotaxin, monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP)-4, and some other CC chemokines. In this paper we show that CCR3 is also highly expressed on human blood basophils, as indicated by Northern blotting and flow cytometry, and mediates mainly chemotaxis. Eotaxin and MCP-4 elicited basophil migration in vitro with similar efficacy as regulated upon activation normal T cells expressed and secreted (RANTES) and MCP-3. They also induced the release of histamine and leukotrienes in IL-3-primed basophils, but their efficacy was lower than that of MCP-1 and MCP-3, which were the most potent stimuli of exocytosis. Pretreatment of the basophils with a CCR3-blocking antibody abrogated the migration induced by eotaxin, RANTES, and by low to optimal concentrations of MCP-4, but decreased only minimally the response to MCP-3. The CCR3-blocking antibody also affected exocytosis: it abrogated histamine and leukotriene release induced by eotaxin, and partially inhibited the response to RANTES and MCP-4. In contrast, the antibody did not affect the responses induced by MCP-1, MCP-3, and macrophage inflammatory protein-1alpha, which may depend on CCR1 and CCR2, two additional receptors detected by Northern blotting with basophil RNA. This study demonstrates that CCR3 is the major receptor for eotaxin, RANTES, and MCP-4 in human basophils, and suggests that basophils and eosinophils, which are the characteristic effector cells of allergic inflammation, depend largely on CCR3 for migration towards different chemokines into inflamed tissues.
PMCID: PMC508288  PMID: 9276730
23.  Induction of a fibrogenic response in mouse colon by overexpression of monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 
Gut  2006;55(5):662-670.
Background and aims
Monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP‐1) is increased transmurally in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Although MCP‐1 is considered to play an important role in fibrotic disease in other organs, the role of MCP‐1 in gut fibrosis is unknown. We investigated the fibrotic potential of MCP‐1 in the gut by overexpressing this chemokine in the mouse colorectal wall.
Intramural gene transfer by direct injection of adenovector into the mouse rectal wall was established. C57BL/6 and Rag2−/− (B and T cell deficient) mice received 2.5×109 plaque forming units of an adenovector encoding murine MCP‐1 (AdMCP‐1) or control virus (AdDL70) via intramural injection. Mice were killed at various time points and tissues were obtained for histopathological and biochemical analysis.
AdMCP‐1 significantly increased collagen production in the colorectum and this was associated with significant elevation of transforming growth factor β (TGF‐β) and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP‐1) protein. Transmural collagen deposition was observed after AdMCP‐1 administration, and was accompanied by CD3+ T cells, F4/80+ macrophages, and vimentin+ cell infiltrates. Collagen was differentially distributed, with type I deposited in the muscularis mucosa and muscularis propria and type III in the submucosa and myenteric plexus. AdMCP‐1 failed to induce collagen overproduction in immunodeficient Rag2−/− mice.
These findings suggest that MCP‐1 can induce fibrosis in the gut and that this process involves interaction between T cells and vimentin positive fibroblasts/myofibroblasts, as well as the subsequent upregulation of TGF‐β and TIMP‐1 production. This model provides a basis for considering MCP‐1 in the pathogenesis of strictures in IBD.
PMCID: PMC1856110  PMID: 16299040
fibrosis; smooth muscle cell; fibroblast; myofibroblast; T lymphocyte
24.  Interferon γ induces differential upregulation of α and β chemokine secretion in colonic epithelial cell lines 
Gut  1998;42(2):208-213.
Background—Production of chemoattractant factors by the intestinal epithelium may contribute to mucosal infiltration by inflammatory cells in inflammatory bowel disease. Secretion of the α chemokine interleukin 8 (IL-8), a neutrophil chemoattractant, has been widely studied, but little is known about epithelial secretion of β chemokines, which are preferentially involved in recruiting monocytes. 
Aims—To investigate the profiles of α and β chemokine secretion in colonic cell lines and their differential modulation by interferon γ (IFN-γ), a product of activated T lymphocytes and natural killer cells. 
Methods and results—HT29-19A, a model of the Cl secretory crypt cell, exhibited a parallel secretion of the α chemokines IL-8 and GROα, which could be markedly upregulated by tumour necrosis factor α (TNF-α) and IL-1β. These cells showed no significant expression of the β chemokines RANTES (regulated upon activation T cell expressed and secreted), MIP-1α (macrophage inflammatory protein 1α), and MCP-1 (monocyte chemotactic protein 1) under these conditions, but IFN-γ in combination with TNF-α caused a dose dependent induction of RANTES and MCP-1 secretion. This was accompanied by a marked increase of RANTES mRNA. In contrast, IFN-γ had no significant effect on TNF-α stimulated IL-8 secretion. Caco-2 cells, with features more typical of villus absorptive cells, were relatively poor secretors of α chemokines but secreted high levels of MCP-1 in response to IL-1β. IFN-γ did not influence α or β chemokine secretion in these cells. 
Conclusions—These studies suggest that intestinal epithelial cells may produce chemokines capable of attracting both neutrophils and monocytes. The ability of IFN-γ to activate the expression of β chemokines preferentially could facilitate the development of chronic inflammatory infiltrates. 

Keywords: inflammatory bowel disease; RANTES; interferon gamma; chemokine
PMCID: PMC1726988  PMID: 9536945
25.  Local Gene Silencing of Monocyte Chemoattractant Protein-1 Prevents Vulnerable Plaque Disruption in Apolipoprotein E-Knockout Mice 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33497.
Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), a CC chemokine (CCL2), has been demonstrated to play important roles in atherosclerosis and becoming an important therapeutic target for atherosclerosis. The present study was undertaken to test the hypothesis that local RNAi of MCP-1 by site-specific delivery of adenovirus-mediated small hairpin RNA (shRNA) may enhance plaque stability and prevent plaque disruption in ApoE−/− mice. We designed an adenovirus-mediated shRNA against mouse MCP-1 (rAd5-MCP-1-shRNA). Male apolipoprotein E-knockout (ApoE−/−) mice (n = 120) were fed a high-fat diet and vulnerable plaques were induced by perivascular placement of constrictive collars around the carotid artery, intraperitoneal injection of lipopolysaccharide and stress stimulation. Mice were randomly divided into RNA interference (Ad-MCP-1i) group receiving local treatment of rAd5-MCP-1-shRNA suspension, Ad-EGFP group receiving treatment of rAd5-mediated negative shRNA and mock group receiving treatment of saline. Two weeks after treatment, plaque disruption rates were significantly lower in the Ad-MCP-1i group than in the Ad-EGFP group (13.3% vs. 60.0%, P = 0.01), and local MCP-1 expression was significantly inhibited in the Ad-MCP-1i group confirmed by immunostaining, qRT-PCR and western blot (P<0.001). Compared with the Ad-EGFP group, carotid plaques in the Ad-MCP-1i group showed increased levels of collagen and smooth muscle cells, and decreased levels of lipid and macrophages. The expression of inflammatory cytokines and activities of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) were lower in the Ad-MCP-1i group than in the Ad-EGFP group. In conclusion, site-specific delivery of adenoviral-mediated shRNA targeting mouse MCP-1 downregulated MCP-1 expression, turned a vulnerable plaque into a more stable plaque phenotype and prevented plaque disruption. A marked suppression of the local inflammatory cytokine expression may be the central mechanism involved.
PMCID: PMC3299803  PMID: 22428064

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