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1.  CXCR1 and SLC11A1 polymorphisms affect susceptibility to cutaneous leishmaniasis in Brazil: a case-control and family-based study 
BMC Medical Genetics  2010;11:10.
L. braziliensis causes cutaneous (CL) and mucosal (ML) leishmaniasis. Wound healing neutrophil (PMN) and macrophage responses made following the bite of the vector sand fly contribute to disease progression in mice. To look at the interplay between PMN and macrophages in disease progression in humans we asked whether polymorphisms at genes that regulate their infiltration or function are associated with different clinical phenotypes. Specifically, CXCR1 (IL8RA) and CXCR2 (IL8RB) are receptors for chemokines that attract PMN to inflammatory sites. They lie 30-260 kb upstream of SLC11A1, a gene known primarily for its role in regulating macrophage activation, resistance to leishmaniasis, and wound healing responses in mice, but also known to be expressed in PMN, macrophages and dendritic cells.
Polymorphic variants at CXCR1, CXCR2 and SLC11A1 were analysed using Taqman or ABI fragment separation technologies in cases (60 CL; 60 ML), unrelated controls (n = 120), and multicase families (104 nuclear families; 88 ML, 250 CL cases) from Brazil. Logistic regression analysis, family-based association testing (FBAT) and haplotype analysis (TRANSMIT) were performed.
Case-control analysis showed association between the common C allele (OR 2.38; 95% CI 1.23-4.57; P = 0.009) of CXCR1_rs2854386 and CL, supported by family-based (FBAT; Z score 2.002; P = 0.045) analysis (104 nuclear families; 88 ML, 250 CL cases). ML associated with the rarer G allele (Z score 1.999; P = 0.046). CL associated with a 3' insertion/deletion polymorphism at SLC11A1 (Z score 2.549; P = 0.011).
The study supports roles for CXCR1 and SLC11A1 in the outcome of L. braziliensis infection in humans. Slc11a1 does not influence cutaneous lesion development following needle injection of Leishmania in mice, suggesting that its role here might relate to the action of PMN, macrophage and/or dendritic cells in the wound healing response to the sand fly bite. Together with the CXCR1 association, the data are consistent with hypotheses relating to the possible role of PMN in initiation of a lesion following the delivery of parasites via the sand fly bite. Association of ML with the rare derived G allele suggests that PMN also have an important positive role to play in preventing this form of the disease.
PMCID: PMC2823618  PMID: 20089160
2.  Variation in the CXCR1 gene (IL8RA) is not associated with susceptibility to chronic periodontitis 
The chemokine receptor 1 CXCR-1 (or IL8R-alpha) is a specific receptor for the interleukin 8 (IL-8), which is chemoattractant for neutrophils and has an important role in the inflammatory response. The polymorphism rs2234671 at position Ex2+860G > C of the CXCR1 gene causes a conservative amino acid substitution (S276T). This single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) seemed to be functional as it was associated with decreased lung cancer risk. Previous studies of our group found association of haplotypes in the IL8 and in the CXCR2 genes with the multifactorial disease chronic periodontitis. In this study we investigated the polymorphism rs2234671 in 395 Brazilian subjects with and without chronic periodontitis.
Similar distribution of the allelic and genotypic frequencies were observed between the groups (p > 0.05).
The polymorphism rs2234671 in the CXCR1 gene was not associated with the susceptibility to chronic periodontitis in the studied Brazilian population.
PMCID: PMC3229460  PMID: 22051099
CXCR1; chemokine; cytokine; genetic polymorphism; periodontal disease
3.  Combined effects of IL-8 and CXCR2 gene polymorphisms on breast cancer susceptibility and aggressiveness 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:283.
Interleukin-8 (IL-8/CXCL-8) is a prototype of the ELR+CXC chemokines that play an important role in the promotion and progression of many human cancers including breast cancer. We have recently showed the implication of polymorphism (-251) T/A of IL-8 gene in the susceptibility and prognosis of breast carcinoma. IL-8 acts through its CXCR1 and CXCR2 receptors. CXCR2, expressed on the endothelial cells, is the receptor involved in mediating the angiogenic effects of ELR+CXC chemokines and in particular IL-8.
In the current study, we investigated the susceptibility and prognostic implications of the genetic variation in CXCR2 in breast carcinoma. We also confirmed the implication of IL-8 (-251) T/A polymorphism in a larger cohort. Finally, we combined the IL-8 and CXCR2 variant alleles and analyzed their effects in breast cancer risk and prognosis.
We used the allele-specific polymerase chain reaction to characterize the variation of IL-8 and CXCR2 for 409 unrelated Tunisian patients with breast carcinoma and 301 healthy control subjects. To estimate the relative risks, Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated using unconditional logistic regression after adjusting for the known risk factors for breast cancer. Associations of the genetic marker with the rates of breast carcinoma-specific overall survival and disease-free survival were assessed using univariate and multivariate analyses.
A highly significant association was found between the homozygous CXCR2 (+ 1208) TT genotype (adjusted OR = 2.89; P = 0.008) and breast carcinoma. A significantly increased risk of breast carcinoma was associated with IL-8 (-251) A allele (adjusted OR = 1.86; P = 0.001). The presence of two higher risk genotypes (the TA and TT in IL-8, and the TT in CXCR2) significantly increased the risk of developing breast carcinoma (adjusted OR = 4.15; P = 0.0004).
The CXCR2 (+ 1208) T allele manifested a significant association with an aggressive phenotype of breast carcinoma as defined by a large tumor size, a high histological grade, and auxiliary's lymph node metastasis. A significant association between the IL-8 (-251) A allele and the aggressive form of breast carcinoma was also found.
Moreover, the presence of the IL-8 (-251) A and/or the CXCR2 (+ 1208) T allele showed a significant association with a decreased overall survival and disease-free survival in breast carcinoma patients.
Our results indicated that the polymorphisms in IL-8 and CXCR2 genes are associated with increased breast cancer risk, as well as disease progress, supporting our hypothesis for IL-8 and ELR+CXC chemokine receptor (CXCR2) involvement in breast cancer pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2895614  PMID: 20540789
4.  CXCR4 Expression, CXCR4 Activation, and Wild Type NPM1 Are Independently Associated with Unfavorable Prognosis in Patients with Acute Myeloid Leukemia 
CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) is activated by phosphorylation and is essential for migration of hematopoietic precursors to bone marrow. CXCR4 overexpression predicts unfavorable prognosis in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Nucleophosmin (NPM1) mutation is the most frequent genetic abnormality in AML patients and predicts a favorable prognosis. In vitro studies have suggested that mutant NPM decreases CXCR4-mediated chemotaxis by downregulating CXCR4, thereby linking the NPM and CXCR4 pathways.
In a group of 117 untreated adults with AML we used immunohistochemistry to assess bone marrow specimens for CXCR4 and phosphorylated (p) CXCR4 (pCXCR4) expression. All cases were also analyzed for NPM1 mutations using PCR-based methods.
CXCR4 expression was detected in 75 (64%) and pCXCR4 expression was detected in 31 (26%) patients. NPM1 mutations were detected in 63 (54%) patients. NPM1 mutations did not correlate with CXCR4 (p = 0.212) or pCXCR4 (p = 0.355) expression. The median 5-year overall survival was 27% (95% CI: 19-36%), with a median follow-up of 8 months (95%CI: 6-15). In a multivariate Cox proportional hazards model, reduced overall and progression-free survival rates were associated with a history of antecedent hematological disorder, failure to achieve complete remission, thrombocytopenia, unfavorable cytogenetics, CXCR4 expression, and wild type NPM1. pCXCR4 expression was independently associated with shorter progression-free survival.
There is no correlation between NPM1 mutations and CXCR4 or phosphorylated CXCR4 expression suggesting that the CXCR4 and NPM pathways act independently in adult AML.
PMCID: PMC4206258  PMID: 24035716
Acute myeloid leukemia; AML; CXCR4; CXCR4 phosphorylation; CXCR4 activation; NPM1; prognosis
5.  Evaluation of the combined expression of chemokine SDF-1α and its receptor CXCR4 as a prognostic marker for gastric cancer 
Chemokine stromal cell-derived factor (SDF)-1α and its receptor CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) have been shown to impact cancer progression. Accumulating evidence suggests that CXCR4 and SDF-1α expression is useful for evaluating the risk of gastric cancer progression. Thus, combined analysis of SDF-1α and CXCR4 should have high prognostic potential as a molecular marker for gastric cancer. We investigated the expression of SDF-1α and CXCR4 using immunohistochemistry in relation to prognosis, clinicopathological features and clinical outcomes in 221 cases of primary gastric cancer. Patients were categorized into three groups according to CXCR4 and SDF-1α expression: high CXCR4/high SDF-1α, low CXCR4/low SDF-1α, and high CXCR4/low SDF-1α – low CXCR4/high SDF-1α. No significant differences were noted in age, gender, histology, tumor location, lymphovascular invasion or proportion of tumor size >5 cm among the three groups. However, high CXCR4/high SDF-1α expression in tumor cells was significantly associated with depth of invasion of the tumor, lymph node involvement, and higher tumor stage compared to tumors with low CXCR4/low SDF-1α expression or high CXCR4/low SDF-1α – low CXCR4/high SDF-1α expression. Furthermore, patients with high CXCR4/high SDF-1α expression had the worst patient prognosis, whereas patients who had low CXCR4/low SDF-1α expression showed the most favorable prognosis. In conclusion, CXCR4 and SDF-1α are useful prognostic factors in gastric cancer, and the combination of high CXCR4 protein expression with high SDF-1α expression suggests a dismal prognosis.
PMCID: PMC3440693  PMID: 22977531
stromal cell-derived factor-1α; CXC chemokine receptor 4; gastric cancer; prognosis
6.  Expression of Interleukin-8 Receptors (CXCR1 and CXCR2) in Premenopausal Women with Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections 
The migration of neutrophils through infected tissues is mediated by the CXC chemokines and its receptors (CXCR1 and CXCR2). It has been proposed that a CXCR1 deficiency could confer susceptibility to acute pyelonephritis in children. The objective of the study is to assess the surface expression of CXCR1 and CXCR2 and the existence of polymorphisms in the CXCR1 gene in premenopausal women with recurrent urinary tract infections. The study included 20 premenopausal women with recurrent urinary infections, with normal urinary tracts, and without diseases potentially associated with relapsing urinary infections and 30 controls without previous urinary infections. The levels of CXCR1 and CXCR2 expression on neutrophils were measured and analyzed by flow cytometry by measuring the mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) channel. The promoter and coding regions of the CXCR1 gene were analyzed for the presence of polymorphisms by a sequence-based typing method. Patients with recurrent urinary tract infections exhibited median levels of CXCR1 expression, determined from MFI values, similar to those of the controls. The analysis of CXCR2 showed that patients with recurrent urinary infections had lower median levels of expression, determined from the MFI values, than the controls (P = 0.002, Mann-Whitney U test). No polymorphisms were detected at the promoter or at the exon 1 region of the CXCR1 gene either in the patients or in the controls. Polymorphisms were detected at the exon 2 of CXCR1, but their frequencies did not differ between patients and controls. We have found a low level of CXCR2 expression in patients with recurrent urinary tract infections. These results suggest that a low level of CXCR2 expression may increase the susceptibilities of premenopausal women to urinary tract infections.
PMCID: PMC1317081  PMID: 16339057
7.  A Protective Role for ELR+ Chemokines during Acute Viral Encephalomyelitis 
PLoS Pathogens  2009;5(11):e1000648.
The functional role of ELR-positive CXC chemokines in host defense during acute viral-induced encephalomyelitis was determined. Inoculation of the neurotropic JHM strain of mouse hepatitis virus (JHMV) into the central nervous system (CNS) of mice resulted in the rapid mobilization of PMNs expressing the chemokine receptor CXCR2 into the blood. Migration of PMNs to the CNS coincided with increased expression of transcripts specific for the CXCR2 ELR-positive chemokine ligands CXCL1, CXCL2, and CXCL5 within the brain. Treatment of JHMV-infected mice with anti-CXCR2 blocking antibody reduced PMN trafficking into the CNS by >95%, dampened MMP-9 activity, and abrogated blood-brain-barrier (BBB) breakdown. Correspondingly, CXCR2 neutralization resulted in diminished infiltration of virus-specific T cells, an inability to control viral replication within the brain, and 100% mortality. Blocking CXCR2 signaling did not impair the generation of virus-specific T cells, indicating that CXCR2 is not required to tailor anti-JHMV T cell responses. Evaluation of mice in which CXCR2 is genetically silenced (CXCR2−/− mice) confirmed that PMNs neither expressed CXCR2 nor migrated in response to ligands CXCL1, CXCL2, or CXCL5 in an in vitro chemotaxis assay. Moreover, JHMV infection of CXCR2−/− mice resulted in an approximate 60% reduction of PMN migration into the CNS, yet these mice survived infection and controlled viral replication within the brain. Treatment of JHMV-infected CXCR2−/− mice with anti-CXCR2 antibody did not modulate PMN migration nor alter viral clearance or mortality, indicating the existence of compensatory mechanisms that facilitate sufficient migration of PMNs into the CNS in the absence of CXCR2. Collectively, these findings highlight a previously unappreciated role for ELR-positive chemokines in enhancing host defense during acute viral infections of the CNS.
Author Summary
Consequences of viral infection of the central nervous system (CNS) can range from encephalitis and paralytic poliomyelitis to relatively benign infections with limited clinical outcomes. The localized expression of proinflammatory chemokines within the CNS in response to viral infection has been shown to be important in host defense by attracting antigen-specific lymphocytes from the microvasculature into the parenchyma that control and eventually eliminate the replicating pathogen. However, the relationship between chemokine expression and recruitment of myeloid cells, e.g. neutrophils, to the CNS following infection with a neurotropic virus is not well characterized. Emerging evidence has indicated that the mobilization of neutrophils into the blood and recruitment to the CNS following microbial infection or injury contributes to permeabilization of the blood-brain-barrier that subsequently allows entry of inflammatory leukocytes. Therefore, we have defined the chemokines involved in promoting the directional migration of neutrophils to the CNS in response to viral infection. Using the neurotropic JHM strain of mouse hepatitis virus (JHMV) as a model of acute viral encephalomyelitis, we demonstrate a previously unappreciated role for members of the ELR-positive CXC chemokine family in host defense by attracting PMNs bearing the receptor CXCR2 to the CNS in response to viral infection.
PMCID: PMC2766051  PMID: 19893623
8.  Genetic and functional evaluation of the role of DLL1 in susceptibility to visceral leishmaniasis in India 
Chromosome 6q26–27 is linked to susceptibility to visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in Brazil and Sudan. DLL1 encoding the Delta-like 1 ligand for Notch 3 was implicated as the etiological gene. DLL1 belongs to the family of Notch ligands known to selectively drive antigen-specific CD4 T helper 1 cell responses, which are important in protective immune response in leishmaniasis. Here we provide further genetic and functional evidence that supports a role for DLL1 in a well-powered population-based study centred in the largest global focus of VL in India. Twenty-one single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at PHF10/C6orf70/DLL1/FAM120B/PSMB1/TBP were genotyped in 941 cases and 992 controls. Logistic regression analysis under an additive model showed association between VL and variants at DLL1 and FAM120B, with top associations (rs9460106, OR=1.17, 95%CI 1.01–1.35, P=0.033; rs2103816, OR=1.16, 95%CI 1.01–1.34, P=0.039) robust to analysis using caste as a covariate to take account of population substructure. Haplotype analysis taking population substructure into account identified a common 2-SNP risk haplotype (frequency 0.43; P=0.028) at FAM120B, while the most significant protective haplotype (frequency 0.18; P=0.007) was a 5-SNP haplotype across the interval 5’ of both DLL1 (negative strand) and FAM120B (positive strand) and extending to intron 4 of DLL1. Quantitative RT/PCR was used to compare expression of 6q27 genes in paired pre- and post-treatment splenic aspirates from VL patients (N=19). DLL1 was the only gene to show differential expression that was higher (P<0.0001) in pre- compared to post-treatment samples, suggesting that regulation of gene expression was important in disease pathogenesis. This well-powered genetic and functional study in an Indian population provides evidence supporting DLL1 as the etiological gene contributing to susceptibility to VL at Chromosome 6q27, confirming the potential for polymorphism at DLL1 to act as a genetic risk factor across the epidemiological divides of geography and parasite species.
PMCID: PMC3651914  PMID: 22561395
visceral leishmaniasis; DLL1; genetic association; Notch signalling
9.  LIM and SH3 Protein -1 Modulates CXCR2-Mediated Cell Migration 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(4):e10050.
The chemokine receptor CXCR2 plays a pivotal role in migration of neutrophils, macrophages and endothelial cells, modulating several biological responses such as angiogenesis, wound healing and acute inflammation. CXCR2 is also involved in pathogenesis of chronic inflammation, sepsis and atherosclerosis. The ability of CXCR2 to associate with a variety of proteins dynamically is responsible for its effects on directed cell migration or chemotaxis. The dynamic network of such CXCR2 binding proteins is termed as “CXCR2 chemosynapse”. Proteomic analysis of proteins that co-immunoprecipitated with CXCR2 in neutrophil-like dHL-60 cells revealed a novel protein, LIM and SH3 protein 1 (LASP-1), binds CXCR2 under both basal and ligand activated conditions. LASP-1 is an actin binding cytoskeletal protein, involved in the cell migration.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We demonstrate that CXCR2 and LASP-1 co-immunoprecipitate and co-localize at the leading edge of migrating cells. The LIM domain of LASP-1 directly binds to the carboxy-terminal domain (CTD) of CXCR2. Moreover, LASP-1 also directly binds the CTD of CXCR1, CXCR3 and CXCR4. Using a site-directed and deletion mutagenesis approach, Iso323-Leu324 of the conserved LKIL motif on CXCR2-CTD was identified as the binding site for LASP-1. Interruption of the interaction between CXCR2-CTD and LIM domain of LASP-1 by dominant negative and knock down approaches inhibited CXCR2-mediated chemotaxis. Analysis for the mechanism for inhibition of CXCR2-mediated chemotaxis indicated that LASP-1/CXCR2 interaction is essential for cell motility and focal adhesion turnover involving activation of Src, paxillin, PAK1, p130CAS and ERK1/2.
We demonstrate here for the first time that LASP-1 is a key component of the “CXCR2 chemosynapse” and LASP-1 interaction with CXCR2 is critical for CXCR2-mediated chemotaxis. Furthermore, LASP-1 also directly binds the CTD of CXCR1, CXCR3 and CXCR4, suggesting that LASP-1 is a general mediator of CXC chemokine mediated chemotaxis. Thus, LASP-1 may serve as a new link coordinating the flow of information between chemokine receptors and nascent focal adhesions, especially at the leading edge. Thus the association between the chemokine receptors and LASP-1 suggests to the presence of a CXC chemokine receptor-LASP-1 pro-migratory module in cells governing the cell migration.
PMCID: PMC2856662  PMID: 20419088
10.  Deletion of the COOH-Terminal Domain of CXC Chemokine Receptor 4 Leads to the Down-regulation of Cell-to-Cell Contact, Enhanced Motility and Proliferation in Breast Carcinoma Cells 
Cancer research  2006;66(11):5665-5675.
The CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) contributes to the metastasis of human breast cancer cells. The CXCR4 COOH-terminal domain (CTD) seems to play a major role in regulating receptor desensitization and down-regulation. We expressed either wild-type CXCR4 (CXCR4-WT) or CTD-truncated CXCR4 (CXCR4-ΔCTD) in MCF-7 human mammary carcinoma cells to determine whether the CTD is involved in CXCR4-modulated proliferation of mammary carcinoma cells. CXCR4-WT-transduced MCF-7 cells (MCF-7/CXCR4-WT cells) do not differ from vector-transduced MCF-7 control cells in morphology or growth rate. However, CXCR4-ΔCTD-transduced MCF-7 cells (MCF-7/CXCR4-ΔCTD cells) exhibit a higher growth rate and altered morphology, potentially indicating an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Furthermore, extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) activation and cell motility are increased in these cells. Ligand induces receptor association with β-arrestin for both CXCR4-WT and CXCR4-ΔCTD in these MCF-7 cells. Overexpressed CXCR4-WT localizes predominantly to the cell surface in unstimulated cells, whereas a significant portion of overexpressed CXCR4-ΔCTD resides intracellularly in recycling endosomes. Analysis with human oligomicroarray, Western blot, and immunohistochemistry showed that E-cadherin and Zonula occludens are down-regulated in MCF-7/CXCR4-ΔCTD cells. The array analysis also indicates that mesenchymal marker proteins and certain growth factor receptors are up-regulated in MCF-7/CXCR4-ΔCTD cells. These observations suggest that (a) the overexpression of CXCR4-ΔCTD leads to a gain-of-function of CXCR4-mediated signaling and (b) the CTD of CXCR4-WT may perform a feedback repressor function in this signaling pathway. These data will contribute to our understanding of how CXCR4-ΔCTD may promote progression of breast tumors to metastatic lesions.
PMCID: PMC2664111  PMID: 16740704
11.  Shared usage of the chemokine receptor CXCR4 by the feline and human immunodeficiency viruses. 
Journal of Virology  1997;71(9):6407-6415.
Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) induces a disease state in the domestic cat that is similar to AIDS in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals. As with HIV, FIV can be divided into primary and cell culture-adapted isolates. Adaptation of FIV to replicate and form syncytia in the Crandell feline kidney (CrFK) cell line is accompanied by an increase in the net charge of the V3 loop of the envelope glycoprotein, mirroring the changes observed in the V3 loop of HIV gp120 with the switch from a non-syncytium-inducing phenotype to a syncytium-inducing phenotype. These data suggest a common mechanism of infection with FIV and HIV. In this study, we demonstrate that cell culture-adapted strains of FIV are able to use the alpha-chemokine receptor CXCR4 for cell fusion. Following ectopic expression of human CXCR4 on nonpermissive human cells, the cells are able to fuse with FIV-infected feline cells. Moreover, fusion between FIV-infected feline cells and CXCR4-transfected human cells is inhibited by both anti-CXCR4 and anti-FIV antibodies. cDNAs encoding the feline CXCR4 homolog were cloned from both T-lymphoblastoid and kidney cell lines. Feline CXCR4 displayed 94.9% amino acid sequence identity with human CXCR4 and was found to be expressed widely on cell lines susceptible to infection with cell culture-adapted strains FIV. Ectopic expression of feline CXCR4 on human cells rendered the cells susceptible to FIV-dependent fusion. Moreover, feline CXCR4 was found to be as efficient as human CXCR4 in supporting cell fusion between CD4-expressing murine fibroblast cells and either HIV type 1 (HIV-1) or HIV-2 Env-expressing human cells. Previous studies have demonstrated that feline cells expressing human CD4 are not susceptible to infection with HIV-1; therefore, further restrictions to HIV-1 Env-dependent fusion may exist in feline cells. As feline and human CXCR4 support both FIV- and HIV-dependent cell fusion, these results suggest a close evolutionary link between FIV and HIV and a common mechanism of infection involving an interaction between the virus and a member of the seven-transmembrane domain chemokine receptor family of molecules.
PMCID: PMC191914  PMID: 9261358
12.  CXCR4 pathway associated with family history of melanoma 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2013;25(1):125-132.
Genetic predisposition plays a major role in the etiology of melanoma, but known genetic markers only account for a limited fraction of family history-associated melanoma cases. Expression microarrays have offered the opportunity to identify further genomic profiles correlated with family history of melanoma. We aimed to distinguish mRNA expression signatures between melanoma cases with and without a family history of melanoma.
Based on the Nurses’ Health Study, family history was defined as having one or more first-degree family members diagnosed with melanoma. Melanoma diagnosis was confirmed by reviewing pathology reports and tumor blocks were collected by mail from across the United States. Genomic interrogation was accomplished through evaluating expression profiling of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues from 78 primary cutaneous invasive melanoma cases, on either a 6K or whole-genome (24K) Illumina gene chip. Gene Set Enrichment Analysis was performed for each batch to determine the differentially enriched pathways and key contributing genes.
The CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) pathway was consistently up-regulated within cases of familial melanoma in both platforms. Leading edge analysis showed four genes from the CXCR4 pathway, including MAPK1, PLCG1, CRK, and PTK2, were among the core members that contributed to the enrichment of this pathway. There was no association between the enrichment of CXCR4 pathway and NRAS, BRAF mutation, or Breslow thickness of the primary melanoma cases.
We found that the CXCR4 pathway might constitute a novel susceptibility pathway associated with family history of melanoma in first-degree relatives.
PMCID: PMC4100594  PMID: 24158781
melanoma; genetic pathway analysis; genome-wide expression profiling
13.  A Naturally Occurring Splice Variant of CXCL12/Stromal Cell-Derived Factor 1 Is a Potent Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Inhibitor with Weak Chemotaxis and Cell Survival Activities▿  
Journal of Virology  2007;81(15):8140-8148.
CXCL12/stromal cell-derived factor 1 is a member of the CXC family of chemokines that plays an important role in hematopoiesis and signals through CXCR4 and CXCR7. Two splice variants of human CXCL12 (CXCL12α and CXCL12β) induce chemotaxis of CXCR4+ cells and inhibit X4 infection. Recent studies described four other novel splice variants of human CXCL12; however, their antiviral activities were not investigated. We constructed and expressed all of the CXCL12 splice variants in Escherichia coli. Recombinant proteins were purified through a His affinity column, and their biological properties were analyzed. All six CXCL12 variants induced chemotaxis of CXCR4+ and CXCR7+ cell lines. Enhancement of survival and replating capacity of human hematopoietic progenitor cells were observed with CXCL12α, CXCL12β, and CXCL12ɛ but not with the other variants. CXCL12γ showed the greatest antiviral activity in X4 inhibition assays and the weakest chemotaxis activity through CXCR4. The order of potency in X4 inhibition assays was as follows: CXCL12γ > CXCL12β > CXCL12α > CXCL12θ > CXCL12ɛ > CXCL12δ. The order of anti-human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) activity was associated with the number of BBXB motifs present in each variant; the most potent inhibitor was CXCL12γ, with five BBXB domains. The results suggest that the different C termini of CXCL12 variants may contain important molecular determinants for the observed differences in antiviral effects and other biological functions. These studies implicate CXCL12γ as a potent HIV-1 entry inhibitor with significantly reduced chemotaxis activity and small or absent effects on progenitor cell survival or replating capacity, providing important insight into the structure-function relationships of CXCL12.
PMCID: PMC1951332  PMID: 17507482
14.  HIV Tropism and Decreased Risk of Breast Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(12):e14349.
During the first two decades of the U.S. AIDS epidemic, and unlike some malignancies, breast cancer risk was significantly lower for women with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection compared to the general population. This deficit in HIV-associated breast cancer could not be attributed to differences in survival, immune deficiency, childbearing or other breast cancer risk factors. HIV infects mononuclear immune cells by binding to the CD4 molecule and to CCR5 or CXCR4 chemokine coreceptors. Neoplastic breast cells commonly express CXCR4 but not CCR5. In vitro, binding HIV envelope protein to CXCR4 has been shown to induce apoptosis of neoplastic breast cells. Based on these observations, we hypothesized that breast cancer risk would be lower among women with CXCR4-tropic HIV infection.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a breast cancer nested case-control study among women who participated in the WIHS and HERS HIV cohort studies with longitudinally collected risk factor data and plasma. Cases were HIV-infected women (mean age 46 years) who had stored plasma collected within 24 months of breast cancer diagnosis and an HIV viral load ≥500 copies/mL. Three HIV-infected control women, without breast cancer, were matched to each case based on age and plasma collection date. CXCR4-tropism was determined by a phenotypic tropism assay. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for breast cancer were estimated by exact conditional logistic regression. Two (9%) of 23 breast cancer cases had CXCR4-tropic HIV, compared to 19 (28%) of 69 matched controls. Breast cancer risk was significantly and independently reduced with CXCR4 tropism (adjusted odds ratio, 0.10, 95% CI 0.002–0.84) and with menopause (adjusted odds ratio, 0.08, 95% CI 0.001–0.83). Adjustment for CD4+ cell count, HIV viral load, and use of antiretroviral therapy did not attenuate the association between infection with CXCR4-tropic HIV and breast cancer.
Low breast cancer risk with HIV is specifically linked to CXCR4-using variants of HIV. These variants are thought to exclusively bind to and signal through a receptor that is commonly expressed on hyperplastic and neoplastic breast duct cells. Additional studies are needed to confirm these observations and to understand how CXCR4 might reduce breast cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC3002931  PMID: 21179547
15.  Deubiquitination of CXCR4 by USP14 Is Critical for Both CXCL12-induced CXCR4 Degradation and Chemotaxis but Not ERK Activation* 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2009;284(9):5742-5752.
The chemokine receptor CXCR4 plays important roles in the immune and nervous systems. Abnormal expression of CXCR4 contributes to cancer and inflammatory and neurodegenerative disorders. Although ligand-dependent CXCR4 ubiquitination is known to accelerate CXCR4 degradation, little is known about counter mechanisms for receptor deubiquitination. CXCL12, a CXCR4 agonist, induces a time-dependent association of USP14 with CXCR4, or its C terminus, that is not mimicked by USP2A, USP4, or USP7, other members of the deubiquitination catalytic family. Co-localization of CXCR4 and USP14 also is time-dependent following CXCL12 stimulation. The physical interaction of CXCR4 and USP14 is paralleled by USP14-catalyzed deubiquitination of the receptor; knockdown of endogenous USP14 by RNA interference (RNAi) blocks CXCR4 deubiquitination, whereas overexpression of USP14 promotes CXCR4 deubiquitination. We also observed that ubiquitination of CXCR4 facilitated receptor degradation, whereas overexpression of USP14 or RNAi-induced knockdown of USP14 blocked CXCL12-mediated CXCR4 degradation. Most interestingly, CXCR4-mediated chemotactic cell migration was blocked by either overexpression or RNAi-mediated knockdown of USP14, implying that a CXCR4-ubiquitin cycle on the receptor, rather than a particular ubiquitinated state of the receptor, is critical for the ligand gradient sensing and directed motility required for chemokine-mediated chemotaxis. Our observation that a mutant of CXCR4, HA-3K/R CXCR4, which cannot be ubiquitinated and does not mediate a chemotactic response to CXCL12, indicates the importance of this covalent modification not only in marking receptors for degradation but also for permitting CXCR4-mediated signaling. Finally, the indistinguishable activation of ERK by wild typeor 3K/R-CXCR4 suggests that chemotaxis in response to CXCL12 may be independent of the ERK cascade.
PMCID: PMC2645827  PMID: 19106094
16.  CXCR7 expression is associated with disease-free and disease-specific survival in cervical cancer patients 
British Journal of Cancer  2012;106(9):1520-1525.
The CXC chemokine receptor (CXCR)7 is involved in tumour development and metastases formation. The aim of the present study was to determine protein expression of CXCR7, its putative co-receptors epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and CXCR4, its predominant ligand CXCL12, their co-dependency and their association with survival in cervical cancer patients.
CXC chemokine receptor 7, EGFR, CXCR4 and CXCL12 expression were determined immunohistochemically in 103 paraffin-embedded, cervical cancers. Subsequently, associations with patient characteristics were assessed and survival analyses were performed.
CXC chemokine receptor 7 was expressed by 43% of tumour specimens, in a large majority of cases together with either EGFR or CXCR4 (double positive), or both (triple positive). The CXCR7 expression was associated with tumour size (P=0.013), lymph node metastasis (P=0.001) and EGFR expression (P=0.009). CXC chemokine receptor 7 was independently associated with disease-free survival (hazard ratio (HR)=4.3, 95% confidence intervals (CI) 1.7–11.0, P=0.002), and strongly associated with disease-specific survival (HR=3.9, 95% CI 1.5–10.2, P=0.005).
CXC chemokine receptor 7 expression predicts poor disease-free and disease-specific survival in cervical cancer patients, and might be a promising new therapeutic marker. In a large majority of cases, CXCR7 is co-expressed with CXCR4 and/or EGFR, supporting the hypothesis that these receptors assist in CXCR7 signal transduction.
PMCID: PMC3341866  PMID: 22531719
cervical cancer; CXCL12; CXCR4; CXCR7; EGFR; survival
17.  Genetic Variation of the Human Urinary Tract Innate Immune Response and Asymptomatic Bacteriuria in Women 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(12):e8300.
Although several studies suggest that genetic factors are associated with human UTI susceptibility, the role of DNA variation in regulating early in vivo urine inflammatory responses has not been fully examined. We examined whether candidate gene polymorphisms were associated with altered urine inflammatory profiles in asymptomatic women with or without bacteriuria.
We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of asymptomatic bacteriuria (ASB) in 1,261 asymptomatic women ages 18-49 years originally enrolled as participants in a population-based case-control study of recurrent UTI and pyelonephritis. We genotyped polymorphisms in CXCR1, CXCR2, TLR1, TLR2, TLR4, TLR5, and TIRAP in women with and without ASB. We collected urine samples and measured levels of uropathogenic bacteria, neutrophils, and chemokines.
Principal Findings
Polymorphism TLR2_G2258A, a variant associated with decreased lipopeptide-induced signaling, was associated with increased ASB risk (odds ratio 3.44, 95%CI; 1.65–7.17). Three CXCR1 polymorphisms were associated with ASB caused by gram-positive organisms. ASB was associated with urinary CXCL-8 levels, but not CXCL-5, CXCL-6, or sICAM-1 (P≤0.0001). Urinary levels of CXCL-8 and CXCL-6, but not ICAM-1, were associated with higher neutrophil levels (P≤0.0001). In addition, polymorphism CXCR1_G827C was associated with increased CXCL-8 levels in women with ASB (P = 0.004).
TLR2 and CXCR1 polymorphisms were associated with ASB and a CXCR1 variant was associated with urine CXCL-8 levels. These results suggest that genetic factors are associated with early in vivo human bladder immune responses prior to the development of symptomatic UTIs.
PMCID: PMC2788705  PMID: 20016852
18.  Evidence for Common Structural Determinants of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Coreceptor Activity Provided through Functional Analysis of CCR5/CXCR4 Chimeric Coreceptors 
Journal of Virology  2001;75(23):11503-11514.
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection in vivo is dependent upon the interaction of the viral envelope glycoprotein gp120 with CC chemokine receptor 5 (CCR5) or CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4). To study the determinants of the gp120-coreceptor association, we generated a set of chimeric HIV-1 coreceptors which express all possible combinations of the four extracellular domains of CCR5 and CXCR4. Stable U87 astroglioma cell lines expressing CD4 and individual chimeric coreceptor proteins were tested against a variety of R5, X4, and R5X4 envelope glycoproteins and virus strains for their ability to support HIV-1-mediated cell fusion and infection, respectively. Each of the cell lines promoted fusion with cells expressing an HIV envelope glycoprotein, except for U87.CD4.5455, which presents the first extracellular loop (ECL1) and flanking sequences of CXCR4 in the context of CCR5. However, all of the chimeric coreceptors allowed productive infection by one or more of the viral strains tested. Viral phenotype was a predictive factor for the observed activity of the chimeric molecules; X4 and R5X4 HIV strains utilized a majority of the chimeras, while R5 strains were limited in their ability to infect cells expressing these chimeric molecules. The expression of CCR5 ECL2 within the CXCR4 backbone supported infection by an R5 primary isolate, but no chimeras bearing the N terminus of CCR5 exhibited activity with R5 strains. Remarkably, the introduction of any CXCR4 domain into the CCR5 backbone was sufficient to allow utilization by multiple X4 strains. However, critical determinants within ECL2 and/or ECL3 of CXCR4 were apparent for all X4 viruses upon replacement of these domains in CXCR4 with CCR5 sequences. Unexpectedly, chimeric coreceptor-facilitated entry was blocked in all cases by the presence of the CXCR4-specific inhibitor AMD3100. Our data provide proof that CCR5 contains elements that support usage by X4 viral strains and demonstrate that the gp120 interaction sites of CCR5 and CXCR4 are structurally related.
PMCID: PMC114737  PMID: 11689632
19.  Pharmacogenetic angiogenesis profiling for first-line bevacizumab plus oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer 
There is substantial germline genetic variability within angiogenesis pathway genes, thereby causing inter-individual differences in angiogenic capacity and resistance to anti-angiogenesis therapy. We investigated germline polymorphisms in genes involved in VEGF-dependent and –independent angiogenesis pathways to predict clinical outcome and tumor response in metastatic colorectal cancer patients (mCRC) treated with bevacizumab (BV) and oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy.
Experimental Design
A total of 132 patients treated with first-line BV and FOLFOX or XELOX were included in this study. Genomic DNA was isolated from whole blood samples by PCR-RFLP or direct DNA-sequencing. The endpoints of the study were progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS) and response rate (RR).
The minor alleles of EGF rs444903 A>G and IGF-1 rs6220 A>G were associated with increased OS and remained significant in multivariate COX regression analysis (HR 0.52; 95%CI 0.31–0.87; adjusted-P=0.012 and HR 0.60; 95%CI 0.36–0.99; adjusted-P=0.046, respectively). The minor allele of HIF1α rs11549465 C>T was significantly associated with increased PFS, but lost its significance in multivariate analysis. CXCR1 rs2234671 G>C, CXCR2 rs2230054 T>C, EGFR rs2227983 G>A and VEGFR-2 rs2305948 C>T predicted tumor response, with CXCR1 rs2234671 G>C remaining significant in multiple testing (Pact=0.003).
In this study we identified common germline variants in VEGF-dependent and – independent angiogenesis genes predicting clinical outcome and tumor response in patients with mCRC receiving first-line BV and oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3174848  PMID: 21791631
bevacizumab; oxaliplatin; colorectal cancer; angiogenesis; polymorphisms
20.  The chemokine receptor CXCR7 interacts with EGFR to promote breast cancer cell proliferation 
Molecular Cancer  2014;13(1):198.
Recent advances have revealed a significant contribution of chemokines and their receptors in tumor growth, survival after chemotherapy, and organ-specific metastasis. The CXC chemokine receptor-7 (CXCR7) is the latest chemokine receptor implicated in cancer. Although over expressed in breast cancer cell lines and tumor tissues, its mechanism of action in breast cancer (BrCa) growth and metastasis is unclear. Studies in other cancers have implicated CXCR7 in cell proliferation, anti-apoptotic activity and cell-cell adhesion. The present study was initiated to examine the pattern of CXCR7 expression and its role in regulation of growth signaling in breast cancer.
The contribution of CXCR7 in BrCa cell proliferation was investigated in representative cell lines using real time quantitative PCR (q-PCR), proliferation assays, immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting. Phenotypic changes were examined after CXCR7 specific cDNA and siRNA transfection and expression levels were monitored by q-PCR. Further, the association of CXCR7 with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and modulation of its activity were investigated by western blotting, immunofluorescence, and in-situ proximity ligation assays in human BrCa cells and tissues.
CXCR7 was expressed in both, estrogen receptor (ER) positive and negative BrCa cell lines. CXCR7 was also expressed unevenly in normal breast tissues and to a much higher extent in ER + cancer tissues. Depletion of CXCR7 in MCF7 BrCa cells by RNA interference decreased proliferation and caused cell cycle arrest. Further, proximity ligation assay (PLA) revealed colocalization of CXCR7 with EGFR in cancer tissues and cancer cell lines. CXCR7 depletion reduced levels of phospho-EGFR at Tyrosine1110 after EGF-stimulation and also reduced phosphorylation of ERK1/2, indicating a potentially direct impact on mitogenic signaling in MCF7 cells. Using siRNA to knockdown β-arrestin2 in cells with EGFR over expression we were able to nearly deplete the CXCR7-EGFR colocalization events, suggesting that β-arrestin2 acts as a scaffold to enhance CXCR7 dependent activation of EGFR after EGF stimulation.
These results demonstrate coupling of CXCR7 with EGFR to regulate proliferation of BrCa cells and suggest an important ligand-independent role of CXCR7 in BrCa growth. Thus, the CXCR7-EGFR axis is a promising target for breast cancer therapy.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1476-4598-13-198) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4167278  PMID: 25168820
Chemokine receptor; CXCR7; EGFR; Heterodimerization; β-arrestin2; Breast cancer cell proliferation
21.  High expression of CXCR4, CXCR7 and SDF-1 predicts poor survival in renal cell carcinoma 
Chemokines and their receptors are known to play important roles in the tumorigenesis of many malignancies. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prognostic impact of the expression of the chemokine SDF-1 and its receptors CXCR4 and CXCR7 in patients with renal cell carcinoma.
The expression of CXCR4, CXCR7 and SDF-1 in specimens from 97 renal cell carcinoma patients was evaluated by immunohistochemistry on a tissue microarray. These results were correlated with the clinicopathological parameters and survival of the patients.
CXCR4 and CXCR7 were expressed in all patients, whereas SDF-1 was expressed in 61 patients (62.9%). No association was observed between the expression of CXCR4, CXCR7 or SDF-1 and the clinical or pathological data except between SDF-1 expression and Fuhrman’s grade (P = 0.015). Patients with high expression of CXCR4, CXCR7 and SDF-1 had shorter overall survival and recurrence-free survival than those with low expression. In a multivariate analysis, the high expression of CXCR4, CXCR7 and SDF-1 correlated with poor overall survival and recurrence-free survival independent of gender, age, AJCC stage, lymph node status, metastasis, histologic variant and Fuhrman’s grade.
High levels of CXCR4, CXCR7 and SDF-1 were associated with poor overall survival and recurrence-free survival in renal cell carcinoma patients. CXCR4, CXCR7 and SDF-1 may serve as useful prognostic markers and therapeutic targets for renal cell carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC3514133  PMID: 23039915
CXCR4; CXCR7; SDF-1; Renal cell carcinoma; Prognosis
22.  CXCR4 expression in feline mammary carcinoma cells: evidence of a proliferative role for the SDF-1/CXCR4 axis 
Mammary tumours frequently develop in female domestic cats being highly malignant in a large percentage of cases. Chemokines regulate many physiological and pathological processes including organogenesis, chemotaxis of inflammatory cells, as well as tumour progression and metastasization. In particular, the chemokine/receptor pair SDF-1/CXCR4 has been involved in the regulation of metastatic potential of neoplastic cells, including breast cancer. The aim of this study was the immunohistochemical defininition of the expression profile of CXCR4 in primary and metastatic feline mammary carcinomas and the evaluation of the role of SDF-1 in feline mammary tumour cell proliferation.
A total of 45 mammary surgical samples, including 33 primary tumours (31 carcinomas and 2 adenomas), 6 metastases, and 4 normal mammary tissues were anlyzed. Tumor samples were collected from a total number of 26 animals, as in some cases concurrent occurrence of neoplasm in more than one mammary gland was observed. Tissues were processed for standard histological examination, and all lesions were classified according to the World Health Organization criteria. CXCR4 expression in neoplastic cells was evaluated by immunohistochemistry. The level of CXCR4 immunoreactivity was semi-quantitatively estimated as CXCR4 score evaluating both the number of positive cells and the intensity of staining. Six primary, fibroblast-free primary cultures were obtained from fresh feline mammary carcinomas and characterized by immunofluorescence for CXCR4 and malignant mammary cell marker expression. SDF-1-dependent in vitro proliferative effects were also assayed. CXCR4 expression was observed in 29 out of 31 malignant tissues with a higher CXCR4 score observed in 4 out of 6 metastatic lesions than in the respective primary tumours. In 2 benign lesions analyzed, only the single basaloid adenoma showed a mild positive immunostaining against CXCR4. Normal tissue did not show CXCR4 immunoreactivity. CXCR4 score was statistically significantly associated with the histological features of the samples, showing an increase accordingly with the degree of neoplastic transformation (from normal tissue to metastatic lesions). Finally, in the primary cultures obtained from 6 primary feline mammary carcinomas CXCR4 expression was detected in all cells and its activation by SDF-1 in vitro treatment caused a significant increase in the proliferation rate in 5 out of 6 tumours.
These results indicate that malignant feline mammary tumours commonly express CXCR4, with a higher level in malignant tumours, and, in most of the cases analysed, metastatic cells display stronger immunoreactivity for CXCR4 than the corresponding primary tumours. Moreover, CXCR4 activation in primary cultures of feline mammary carcinomas causes increase in the proliferative rate. Thus, SDF-1/CXCR4 system seems to play a tumorigenic in feline mammary gland malignancy and in vitro cultures from these tumour samples may represent an experimental model to investigate the biological and pharmacological role of this chemokinergic axis.
PMCID: PMC3364888  PMID: 22417013
23.  Engineered CD4- and CXCR4-Using Simian Immunodeficiency Virus from African Green Monkeys Is Neutralization Sensitive and Replicates in Nonstimulated Lymphocytes 
Journal of Virology  2002;76(21):10627-10636.
During human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection, disease progression correlates with the occurrence of variants using the coreceptor CXCR4 for cell entry. In contrast, apathogenic simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) from African green monkeys (SIVagm), specifically the molecular virus clone SIVagm3mc, uses CCR5, Bob, and Bonzo as coreceptors throughout the course of infection. The influence of an altered coreceptor usage on SIVagm3mc replication was studied in vitro and in vivo. The putative coreceptor binding domain, the V3 region of the surface envelope (SU) glycoprotein, was replaced by the V3 loop of a CD4- and CXCR4-tropic HIV-1 strain. The resulting virus, termed SIVagm3-X4mc, exclusively used CD4 and CXCR4 for cell entry. Consequently, its in vitro replication was inhibited by SDF-1, the natural ligand of CXCR4. Surprisingly, SIVagm3-X4mc was able to replicate in vitro not only in interleukin-2- and phytohemagglutinin-stimulated but also in nonstimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from nonhuman primates. After experimental infection of two pig-tailed macaques with either SIVagm3-X4mc or SIVagm3mc, the coreceptor usage was maintained during in vivo replication. Cell-associated and plasma viral loads, as well as viral DNA copy numbers, were found to be comparable between SIVagm3mc and SIVagm 3-X4mc infections, and no pathological changes were observed up to 14 months postinfection. Interestingly, the V3 loop exchange rendered SIVagm3-X4mc susceptible to neutralizing antibodies present in the sera of SIVagm3-X4mc- and SIVagm3mc-infected pig-tailed macaques. Our study describes for the first time a successful exchange of a V3 loop in nonpathogenic SIVagm resulting in CD4 and CXCR4 usage and modulation of virus replication in nonstimulated PBMCs as well as sensitivity toward neutralization.
PMCID: PMC136611  PMID: 12368305
24.  Risk for HIV-1 Infection Associated With a Common CXCL12 (SDF1) Polymorphism and CXCR4 Variation in an African Population 
CXC chemokine ligand 12 (CXCL12), or stromal cell–derived factor 1 (SDF1), is the only known natural ligand for the HIV-1 coreceptor, CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4). A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the CXCL12 gene (SDF1-3′A) has been associated with disease progression to AIDS in some studies, but not others. Mutations in the CXCR4 gene are generally rare and have not been implicated in HIV-1/AIDS pathogenesis. This study analyzed the SDF1-3′A SNP and performed mutation screening for polymorphic markers in the CXCR4 gene to determine the presence or absence of significant associations with susceptibility to HIV-1 infection. The study consisted of 257 HIV-1–seropositive patients and 113 HIV-1–seronegative controls representing a sub-Saharan African population belonging to the Xhosa ethnic group of South Africa. The SDF1-3′A SNP was associated with an increased risk for HIV-1 infection (P = 0.0319) whereas no significant association was observed between the occurrence of the SDF1-3′A SNP and increased or decreased plasma levels of CXCL12. Comprehensive mutation analysis of the CXCR4 gene confirmed a high degree of genetic conservation within the coding region of this ancient population.
PMCID: PMC1369993  PMID: 16284526
CXC chemokine ligand 12 (CXCL12); CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4); SDF1-3′A single-nucleotide polymorphism; HIV-1 infection risk; African population
25.  High Frequency of CD4+CXCR5+ TFH Cells in Patients with Immune-Active Chronic Hepatitis B 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e21698.
T follicular helper (TFH) cells are a special subpopulation of T helper cells and can regulate humoral immune responses. This study examined whether the frequency of CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells could be associated with active immunity in chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients.
Methodology and Findings
The frequencies of peripheral blood CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells, inducible T cell costimulator (ICOS), and/or programmed death 1 (PD-1) positive CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells in immune-active (IA), immune-tolerant (IT) CHB, and healthy controls (HC) were characterized by flow cytometry analysis. The effect of adevofir dipivoxil treatment on the frequency of CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells, the concentrations of serum IL-2, IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, IL-21, ALT, AST, HBsAg, HBsAb, HBeAg, HBeAb and HBV loads in IA patients were determined. The potential association of the frequency of CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells with clinical measures was analyzed. In addition, the frequency of splenic and liver CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells in HBV-transgenic mice was examined. We found that the frequency of CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells in IA patients was significantly higher than that of IT patients and HC, and the percentages of CD4+CXCR5+ TFH in IA patients were positively correlated with AST. Furthermore, the percentages of ICOS+, PD-1+, and ICOS+PD-1+ in CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells in CHB patients were significantly higher than that of HC. Treatment with adefovir dipivoxil reduced the frequency of CD4+CXCR5+ TFH, PD-1+CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells and the concentrations of HBsAg and HBeAg, but increased the concentrations of HBsAb, HBeAb, IL-2 and IFN-γ in IA patients. Moreover, the frequency of splenic and liver CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells in HBV-transgenic mice was higher than that of wild-type controls.
These data indicate that CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells may participate in the HBV-related immune responses and that high frequency of CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells may be a biomarker for the evaluation of active immune stage of CHB patients.
PMCID: PMC3131291  PMID: 21750724

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