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1.  Why CCR2 and CCR5 Blockade Failed and Why CCR1 Blockade Might Still Be Effective in the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e21772.
Background
The aim of this study was to provide more insight into the question as to why blockade of CCR1, CCR2, and CCR5 may have failed in clinical trials in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients, using an in vitro monocyte migration system model.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Monocytes from healthy donors (HD; n = 8) or from RA patients (for CCR2 and CCR5 antibody n = 8; for CCR1 blockade n = 13) were isolated from peripheral blood and pre-incubated with different concentrations of either anti-CCR1, anti-CCR2, or anti-CCR5 blocking antibodies (or medium or isotype controls). In addition, a small molecule CCR1 antagonist (BX471) was tested. Chemotaxis was induced by CCL2/MCP-1 (CCR2 ligand), CCL5/RANTES (CCR1 and CCR5 ligand), or by a mix of 5 RA synovial fluids (SFs), and cellular responses compared to chemotaxis in the presence of medium alone. Anti-CCR2 antibody treatment blocked CCL2/MCP-1-induced chemotaxis of both HD and RA monocytes compared to isotype control. Similarly, anti-CCR5 antibody treatment blocked CCL5/RANTES-induced chemotaxis of RA monocytes. While neither CCR2 nor CCR5 blocking antibodies were able to inhibit SF-induced monocyte chemotaxis, even when both receptors were blocked simultaneously, both anti-CCR1 antibodies and the CCR1 antagonist were able to inhibit SF-induced monocyte chemotaxis.
Conclusions/Significance
The RA synovial compartment contains several ligands for CCR1, CCR2, and CCR5 as well as other chemokines and receptors involved in monocyte recruitment to the site of inflammation. The results suggest that CCR2 and CCR5 are not critical for the migration of monocytes towards the synovial compartment in RA. In contrast, blockade of CCR1 may be effective. Conceivably, CCR1 blockade failed in clinical trials, not because CCR1 is not a good target, but because very high levels of receptor occupancy at all times may be needed to inhibit monocyte migration in vivo.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021772
PMCID: PMC3128605  PMID: 21747955
2.  Abrogation of CC chemokine receptor 9 ameliorates collagen-induced arthritis of mice 
Introduction
Biological drugs are effective in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but increase severe infections. The CC chemokine receptor (CCR) 9 antagonist was effective for Crohn’s disease without critical adverse effects including infections in clinical trials. The present study was carried out to explore the pathogenic roles of chemokine (C-C motif) ligand (CCL) 25 and its receptor, CCR9, in autoimmune arthritis and to study if the CCR9 antagonist could be a new treatment for RA.
Methods
CCL25 and CCR9 expression was examined with immunohistochemistry and Western blotting. Concentration of interleukin (IL)-6, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-3 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α was measured with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Effects of abrogating CCR9 on collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) was evaluated using CCR9-deficient mice or the CCR9 antagonist, CCX8037. Fluorescence labeled-CD11b+ splenocytes from CIA mice were transferred to recipient CIA mice and those infiltrating into the synovial tissues of the recipient mice were counted.
Results
CCL25 and CCR9 proteins were found in the RA synovial tissues. CCR9 was expressed on macrophages, fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) and dendritic cells in the synovial tissues. Stimulation with CCL25 increased IL-6 and MMP-3 production from RA FLS, and IL-6 and TNF-α production from peripheral blood monocytes. CIA was suppressed in CCR9-deficient mice. CCX8037 also inhibited CIA and the migration of transferred CD11b+ splenocytes into the synovial tissues.
Conclusions
The interaction between CCL25 and CCR9 may play important roles in cell infiltration into the RA synovial tissues and inflammatory mediator production. Blocking CCL25 or CCR9 may represent a novel safe therapy for RA.
doi:10.1186/s13075-014-0445-9
PMCID: PMC4201712  PMID: 25248373
3.  Cytokine, activation marker, and chemokine receptor expression by individual CD4+ memory T cells in rheumatoid arthritis synovium 
Arthritis Research  2000;2(5):415-423.
IL-10, IL-13, IFN-γ, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, LT-α, CD154, and TNF-related activation-induced cytokine (TRANCE) were expressed by 2-20% of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synovial tissue CD4+ memory T cells, whereas CD4+ cells that produced IL-2, IL-4, or IL-6 were not detected. Expression of none of these molecules by individual CD4+ cells correlated with the exception of TRANCE and IL-10, and TRANCE and TNF-α . A correlation between expression of IL-10 and CCR7, LT-α and CCR6, IFN-γ and CCR5, and TRANCE and CXCR4 was also detected.
Introduction:
In RA large numbers of CD4+ memory T cells infiltrate the inflamed synovium [1,2,3]. The accumulated CD4+ memory T cells in the RA synovium appear to be activated, because they express cytokines and activation markers [4,5,6,7,8]. Expressed cytokines and activation markers should play important roles in the pathogenesis of RA. However, the frequency of cytokine expression by RA synovial CD4+ T cells has not been analyzed accurately. Recently, the roles of chemokine and chemokine receptor interactions in T-cell migration have been intensively examined. Interactions of chemokine and chemokine receptors might therefore be important in the accumulation of the CD4+ T cells in the RA synovium. Accordingly, correlation of cytokine and chemokine receptor expression might be important in delineating the function and potential means of accumulation of individual CD4+ memory T cells in the RA synovium.
In the present study we analyzed cytokine (IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, IL-13, IFN-γ , TNF-α , and LT-α ), activation marker (CD154 [CD40 ligand] and TRANCE - also called receptor activator of nuclear factor κ B ligand [RANKL] or osteoclast differentiation factor [ODF]), and chemokine receptor expression by individual CD4+ memory T cells isolated from rheumatoid synovium and blood. To achieve this we employed a single-cell reverse transcription (RT) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique. This technique made it possible to correlate mRNAs expressed by individual CD4+ memory T cells in the synovium and blood.
Materials and method:
Synovial tissues from three RA patients and peripheral blood mononuclear cells from two RA patients and a normal donor were analyzed.
Cytokine (IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, IL-13, IFN-γ, TNF-α, and LT-α ) and activation marker (CD154 and TRANCE) expression by individual CD4+CD45RO+ T cells from RA synovium or blood were analyzed using a single-cell RT-PCR. In brief, single CD4+CD45RO+T cells was sorted into each well of a 96-well PCR plate using a flow cytometer. cDNA from individual cells was prepared, and then the cDNA was nonspecifically amplified. The product was then amplified by PCR using gene-specific primers to analyze cytokine and activation marker expression.
Results:
Cytokine and activation marker expression by individual CD4+CD45RO+T cells from RA synovial tissues was analyzed using a single-cell RT-PCR method. Expression of mRNAs was analyzed in 152 individual synovial tissue CD4+CD45RO+ T cells sorted from three RA patients in which T-cell receptor (TCR) Cβ mRNA was detected. Frequencies of CD4+ memory T cells expressing cytokine and activation marker mRNA in RA synovium are shown in Table 1. IL-2, IL-4, and IL-6 were not expressed by the synovial tissue CD4+CD45RO+ T cells, whereas 2-20% of cells expressed the other cytokine mRNAs.
Few correlations between cytokine and activation marker mRNAs were observed. Notably, no cells contained both IFN-γ and LT-α mRNAs, cytokines that are thought to define the T-helper (Th)1 phenotype [9]. However, the frequency of TRANCE-positive cells in IL-10-positive cells was significantly higher than that in IL-10-negative cells (Table 2). Moreover, the frequency of TRANCE-positive cells in TNF-α-positive cells was also significantly higher than that in TNF-α-negative cells.
Varying percentages of CD4+ memory T cells expressed CC and CXC chemokine receptors. The frequency of CCR5-positive cells in IFN-γ-positive cells was significantly higher than that in IFN-γ-negative cells, whereas the frequency of CCR6-positive cells in LT-α-positive cells was significantly higher than that in LT-α-negative cells, and the frequency of CCR7-positive cells in IL-10-positive cells was significantly higher than that in IL-10-negative cells. Furthermore, the frequency of CXCR4-positive cells in TRANCE-positive cells was significantly higher than that in TRANCE-negative cells.
Expression of cytokine and activation marker mRNAs was also analyzed in 48 individual peripheral blood CD4+CD45RO+ T cells from two RA patients. IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, and LT-α were not expressed by the peripheral CD4+CD45RO+ T cells, whereas 4-17% of cells expressed the other markers. The most striking difference between synovial tissue and peripheral blood CD4+ memory T cells was the presence of LT-α expression in the former, but not in the latter. IFN-γ and TNF-α were not expressed by normal peripheral blood CD4+ memory T cells, although they were expressed by RA peripheral blood CD4+ memory T cells.
Discussion:
The present study employed a single-cell PCR technology to analyze cytokine expression by unstimulated RA synovial tissue CD4+ memory T cells immediately after isolation, without in vitro manipulation. The results confirm the Th1 nature of rheumatoid inflammation. It is noteworthy that no individual synovial CD4+ memory T cells expressed both IFN-γ and LT-α mRNAs, even though these are the prototypic Th1 cytokines [9]. These results imply that, in the synovium, regulation of IFN-γ and LT-α must vary in individual cells, even though both Th1 cytokines can be produced.
The present data showed that CCR5 expression correlated with IFN-γ but not with LT-α expression by synovial CD4+ memory T cells. It has been reported that CCR5 expression is upregulated in RA synovial fluid and synovial tissue T cells [10,11,12] and that CCR5 Δ 32 deletion may have an influence on clinical manifestations of RA [13], suggesting that CCR5 might play an important role in RA. Recently, it has been claimed that CCR5 was preferentially expressed by Th1 cell lines [14,15]. However, in the present study CCR5 was not expressed by all IFN-γ-expressing cells. Moreover, CCR5 expression did not correlate with expression of LT-α by RA synovial CD4+ memory T cells. Therefore, it is unclear whether CCR5 is a marker of Th1 cells in RA synovium.
IL-10 expression correlated with CCR7 expression by RA synovial CD4+ memory T cells. Recently, it was reported [16] that in the blood CCR7+CD4+ memory T cells express lymph-node homing receptors and lack immediate effector function, but efficiently stimulate dendritic cells. These cells may play a unique role in the synovium as opposed to in the blood. By producing IL-10, they might have an immunoregulatory function. In addition, IL-10 expression also correlated with expression of TRANCE. Although it is possible that IL-10 produced by these cells inhibited T-cell activation in the synovium, TRANCE expressed by these same cells might function to activate dendritic cells and indirectly stimulate T cells, mediating inflammation in the synovium. These results imply that individual T cells in the synovium might have different, and sometimes opposite functional activities.
LT-α expression correlated with CCR6 expression by synovial CD4+ memory T cells. It has been reported that CCR6 is expressed by resting peripheral memory T cells [17], whereas LT-α expression is associated with the presence of lymphocytic aggregates in synovial tissue [7]. The correlation between the expression of these two markers therefore suggests the possibility that CCR6 may play a role in the development of aggregates of CD4+ T cells that are characteristically found in rheumatoid synovium.
TRANCE is known to be expressed by activated T cells, and can stimulate dendritic cells and osteoclasts [18]. Of note, TRANCE-mediated activation of osteoclasts has recently been shown [19] to play an important role in the damage to bone that is found in experimental models of inflammatory arthritis. It is therefore of interest that TRANCE was expressed by 3-16% of the RA synovial CD4+ memory T cells. Of note, 67% of TNF-α-positive cells expressed TRANCE. In concert, TNF-α and TRANCE expressed by this subset of CD4+ memory T cells might make them particularly important in mediating the bony erosions that are characteristic of RA.
Interestingly, there was a correlation between expression of IFN-γ and IL-10 in RA peripheral blood CD4+ memory T cells. In RA peripheral blood, CD154 expression correlated with that of CXCR3 by CD4+ memory T cells. It has been claimed [15] that CXCR3 is preferentially expressed by in vitro generated Th1 cells. However, in the present study CXCR3 did not correlate with IFN-γ expression. Although IFN-γ and TNF-α mRNAs were expressed in vivo by peripheral blood CD4+ T cells from RA patients, LT-α mRNA was not detected, whereas IFN-γ , TNF-α , and LT-α were not detected in samples from healthy donors. These findings indicate that RA peripheral blood CD4+ memory T cells are stimulated in vivo, although they do not express LT-α mRNA. The present studies indicate that the frequencies of CD4+ memory T cells that expressed IFN-γ in the blood and in the synovium are comparable. These results imply that activated CD4+ memory T cells migrate between blood and synovium, although the direction of the trafficking is unknown. The presence of LT-α mRNA in synovium, but not in blood, indicates that CD4+ memory cells are further activated in the synovium, and that these activated CD4+ memory T cells are retained in the synovium until LT-α mRNA decreases.
In conclusion, CD4+ memory T cells are biased toward Th1 cells in RA synovium and peripheral blood. In the synovium, IFN-γ and LT-α were produced by individual cells, whereas in the rheumatoid blood no LT-α-producing cells were detected. Furthermore, there were modest correlations between individual cells that expressed particular cytokines, such as IL-10, and certain chemokine receptor mRNAs.
PMCID: PMC17818  PMID: 11056676
chemokine receptor; cytokine; rheumatoid arthritis; T lymphocyte
4.  Cloning and functional characterization of the rabbit C-C chemokine receptor 2 
BMC Immunology  2005;6:15.
Background
CC-family chemokine receptor 2 (CCR2) is implicated in the trafficking of blood-borne monocytes to sites of inflammation and is implicated in the pathogenesis of several inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and atherosclerosis. The major challenge in the development of small molecule chemokine receptor antagonists is the lack of cross-species activity to the receptor in the preclinical species. Rabbit models have been widely used to study the role of various inflammatory molecules in the development of inflammatory processes. Therefore, in this study, we report the cloning and characterization of rabbit CCR2. Data regarding the activity of the CCR2 antagonist will provide valuable tools to perform toxicology and efficacy studies in the rabbit model.
Results
Sequence alignment indicated that rabbit CCR2 shares 80 % identity to human CCR2b. Tissue distribution indicated that rabbit CCR2 is abundantly expressed in spleen and lung. Recombinant rabbit CCR2 expressed as stable transfectants in U-937 cells binds radiolabeled 125I-mouse JE (murine MCP-1) with a calculated Kd of 0.1 nM. In competition binding assays, binding of radiolabeled mouse JE to rabbit CCR2 is differentially competed by human MCP-1, -2, -3 and -4, but not by RANTES, MIP-1α or MIP-1β. U-937/rabbit CCR2 stable transfectants undergo chemotaxis in response to both human MCP-1 and mouse JE with potencies comparable to those reported for human CCR2b. Finally, TAK-779, a dual CCR2/CCR5 antagonist effectively inhibits the binding of 125I-mouse JE (IC50 = 2.3 nM) to rabbit CCR2 and effectively blocks CCR2-mediated chemotaxis.
Conclusion
In this study, we report the cloning of rabbit CCR2 and demonstrate that this receptor is a functional chemotactic receptor for MCP-1.
doi:10.1186/1471-2172-6-15
PMCID: PMC1182369  PMID: 16001983
5.  Chemokine receptor expression and functional effects of chemokines on B cells: implication in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2009;11(5):R149.
Introduction
Accumulation of B cells in the rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synovium has been reported, and it has been thought that these cells might contribute to the pathogenesis of RA by antigen presentation, autoantibody production, and/or inflammatory cytokine production. Chemokines could enhance the accumulation of B cells in the synovium. The aims of this study were to determine chemokine receptor expression by B cells both in the peripheral blood of normal donors and subjects with RA, and at the inflammatory site in RA, and the effects of chemokines on B cell activation.
Methods
Cell surface molecule expression was analyzed by flow cytometry. Cellular migration was assessed using chemotaxis chambers. Cellular proliferation was examined by 3H-thymidine incorporation. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) production was assayed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Results
Significant numbers of peripheral blood B cells of healthy donors and subjects with RA expressed CC chemokine receptor (CCR)5 and CXCR3, and most B cells expressed CCR6, CCR7, CXCR4 and CXCR5. CCR5 expression was more frequent on CD27+ than CD27- peripheral blood B cells of healthy donors and RA. Synovial B cells more frequently expressed CCR5, but less often expressed CCR6, CCR7 and CXCR5 compared to peripheral blood in RA. Further functional analyses were performed on peripheral blood B cells from healthy donors. Migration of peripheral blood B cells, especially CD27+ B cells, was enhanced by CC chemokine ligand (CCL)20, CCL19, CCL21 and CXCL12. All four chemokines alone induced B cell proliferation; with CCL21 being the most effective. CCL21 also enhanced the proliferation of anti-immunoglobulin (Ig)M-stimulated B cells and blockade of CCR7 inhibited this effect. CCL20, CCL21 and CXCL12 enhanced TNF production by anti-IgM mAb-stimulated B cells. Finally, stimulation with CXCL12, but not CCL20, CCL19 and CCL21, enhanced inducible costimulator-ligand (ICOSL) expression by peripheral blood B cells of healthy donors and RA, but did not increase B cell-activating factor receptor or transmembrane activator and CAML-interactor.
Conclusions
The data suggest that CCR5, CCR6, CCR7, CXCR3, CXCR4 and CXCR5 may be important for the B cell migration into the synovium of RA patients, and also their local proliferation, cytokine production and ICOSL expression in the synovium.
doi:10.1186/ar2823
PMCID: PMC2787286  PMID: 19804625
6.  Chemokine and chemokine receptor expression in paired peripheral blood mononuclear cells and synovial tissue of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and reactive arthritis 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2005;65(3):294-300.
Background
Chemokine receptors and chemokines have a crucial role in leucocyte recruitment into inflamed tissue.
Objective
To examine the expression of an extensive number of chemokines and receptors in a unique bank of paired samples of synovial tissue (ST) and peripheral blood (PB) from patients with different forms of arthritis to assist in identifying suitable targets for therapeutic intervention.
Methods
Synovial biopsy specimens were obtained from 23 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), 16 with osteoarthritis, and 8 with reactive arthritis. ST chemokine (CCL2/MCP‐1, CCL5/RANTES, CCL7/MCP‐3, CCL8/MCP‐2, CCL14/HCC‐1, CCL15/HCC‐2, CCL16/HCC‐4), chemokine receptor (CCR1, CCR2b, CCR5, CXCR4), and CD13 expression was analysed by immunohistochemistry and two colour immunofluorescence. Chemokine receptor expression (CCR1, CCR3, CCR5, CCR6, CCR7) on PB cells was studied by flow cytometry. Non‐parametric tests were used for statistical analysis.
Results
Abundant expression of CCR1, CXCR4, and CCR5 was found in all forms of arthritis, with a specific increase of CCL5 and CCL15 in RA. CCL7, CCL8, CCL14, CCL15, and CCL16 were detected for the first time in ST. The results for PB analysis were comparable among different arthritides. Interestingly, compared with healthy controls, significantly lower expression of CCR1 (p<0.005) and CCR5 (p<0.05) by PB monocytes in the patient groups was seen.
Discussion
A variety of chemokines and receptors might have an important role in several inflammatory joint disorders. Although other receptors are involved as well, migration of CCR1+ and CCR5+ cells towards the synovial compartment may play a part in the effector phase of various forms of arthritis.
doi:10.1136/ard.2005.037176
PMCID: PMC1798063  PMID: 16107514
arthritis; chemokines; pathogenesis; synovial tissue; chemokine receptors
7.  Potent Antiviral Synergy between Monoclonal Antibody and Small-Molecule CCR5 Inhibitors of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2006;50(10):3289-3296.
The chemokine receptor CCR5 provides a portal of entry for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) into susceptible CD4+ cells. Both monoclonal antibody (MAb) and small-molecule CCR5 inhibitors have entered human clinical testing, but little is known regarding their potential interactions. We evaluated the interactions between CCR5 MAbs, small-molecule CCR5 antagonists, and inhibitors of HIV-1 gp120, gp41, and reverse transcriptase in vitro. Inhibition data were analyzed for cooperative effects using the combination index (CI) method and stringent statistical criteria. Potent, statistically significant antiviral synergy was observed between the CCR5 MAb PRO 140 and the small-molecule CCR5 antagonists maraviroc (UK-427,857), vicriviroc (SCH-D), and TAK-779. High-level synergy was observed consistently across various assay systems, HIV-1 envelopes, CCR5 target cells, and inhibition levels. CI values ranged from 0.18 to 0.64 and translated into in vitro dose reductions of up to 14-fold. Competition binding studies revealed nonreciprocal patterns of CCR5 binding by MAb and small-molecule CCR5 inhibitors, suggesting that synergy occurs at the level of receptor binding. In addition, both PRO 140 and maraviroc synergized with the chemokine RANTES, a natural ligand for CCR5; however, additive effects were observed for both small-molecule CCR5 antagonists and PRO 140 in combination with other classes of HIV-1 inhibitors. The findings provide a rationale for clinical exploration of MAb and small-molecule CCR5 inhibitors in novel dual-CCR5 regimens for HIV-1 therapy.
doi:10.1128/AAC.00699-06
PMCID: PMC1610098  PMID: 17005807
8.  Maraviroc, a chemokine receptor-5 antagonist, fails to demonstrate efficacy in the treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis in a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial 
Introduction
The purpose of this study was to determine whether maraviroc, a human CC chemokine receptor 5 (CCR5) antagonist, is safe and effective in the treatment of active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in patients on background methotrexate (MTX).
Methods
This phase IIa study comprised two distinct components: an open-label safety study of the pharmacokinetics (PK) of MTX in the presence of maraviroc, and a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, proof-of-concept (POC) component. In the PK component, patients were randomized 1:1 to receive maraviroc 150 or 300 mg twice daily (BID) for four weeks. In the POC component, patients were randomized 2:1 to receive maraviroc 300 mg BID or placebo for 12 weeks. Patients were not eligible for inclusion in both components.
Results
Sixteen patients were treated in the safety/PK component. Maraviroc was well tolerated and there was no evidence of drug-drug interaction with MTX. One hundred ten patients were treated in the POC component. The study was terminated after the planned interim futility analysis due to lack of efficacy, at which time 59 patients (38 maraviroc; 21 placebo) had completed their week 12 visit. There was no significant difference in the number of ACR20 responders between the maraviroc (23.7%) and placebo (23.8%) groups (treatment difference -0.13%; 90% CI -20.45, 17.70; P = 0.504). The most common all-causality treatment-emergent adverse events in the maraviroc group were constipation (7.8%), nausea (5.2%), and fatigue (3.9%).
Conclusions
Maraviroc was generally well tolerated over 12 weeks; however, selective antagonism of CCR5 with maraviroc 300 mg BID failed to improve signs and symptoms in patients with active RA on background MTX.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT00427934
doi:10.1186/ar3685
PMCID: PMC3392799  PMID: 22251436
9.  Chemokine blockade and chronic inflammatory disease: proof of concept in patients with rheumatoid arthritis 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2003;62(8):715-721.
Background: Chemokines and their receptors are considered important contributors in cell migration and inflammation in chronic inflammatory disorders. Chemokines affecting monocytes/macrophages are considered potential therapeutic targets, but no studies of the effects of blocking the chemokine repertoire in humans with a chronic inflammatory disease have been reported.
Objective: To carry out a double blind, placebo controlled, phase Ib clinical trial with a specific, oral CCR1 antagonist.
Methods: 16 patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) were randomised 3:1 to active:placebo treatment for 14 days. Synovial biopsy specimens were obtained on days 1 and 15. Immunohistochemistry was used to detect the presence of various cell types before and after treatment and the results measured by digital image analysis. Results before and after treatment were compared by paired t test, and a two sample t test was used to compare the changes from baseline in the two groups.
Results: All patients completed the study. A significant reduction in the number of macrophages (p=0.016), intimal macrophages (p=0.026), and CCR1+cells (p=0.049) in patients treated with the chemokine antagonist compared with the placebo group occurred in the synovium. Significant decreases in overall cellularity, intimal lining layer cellularity, CD4+ T cells, and CD8+ T cells also occurred in treated patients. Cells lacking CCR1 were not affected. Trends towards clinical improvement were seen in the treated patients but not in the placebo group. Severe side effects were not reported.
Conclusion: Specific chemokine receptor blockade can result in relevant biological effects in patients with active RA.
doi:10.1136/ard.62.8.715
PMCID: PMC1754636  PMID: 12860725
10.  Blockade of Lymphocyte Chemotaxis in Visceral Graft-versus-Host Disease 
The New England journal of medicine  2012;367(2):135-145.
Background
Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a major barrier to successful allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT). The chemokine receptor CCR5 appears to play a role in alloreactivity. We tested whether CCR5 blockade would be safe and limit GVHD in humans.
Methods
We tested the in vitro effect of the CCR5 antagonist maraviroc on lymphocyte function and chemotaxis. We then enrolled 38 high-risk patients in a single-group phase 1 and 2 study of reduced-intensity allogeneic HSCT that combined maraviroc with standard GVHD prophylaxis.
Results
Maraviroc inhibited CCR5 internalization and lymphocyte chemotaxis in vitro without impairing T-cell function or formation of hematopoietic-cell colonies. In 35 patients who could be evaluated, the cumulative incidence rate (±SE) of grade II to IV acute GVHD was low at 14.7±6.2% on day 100 and 23.6±7.4% on day 180. Acute liver and gut GVHD were not observed before day 100 and remained uncommon before day 180, resulting in a low cumulative incidence of grade III or IV GVHD on day 180 (5.9±4.1%). The 1-year rate of death that was not preceded by disease relapse was 11.7±5.6% without excessive rates of relapse or infection. Serum from patients receiving maraviroc prevented CCR5 internalization by CCL5 and blocked T-cell chemotaxis in vitro, providing evidence of antichemotactic activity.
Conclusions
In this study, inhibition of lymphocyte trafficking was a specific and potentially effective new strategy to prevent visceral acute GVHD. (Funded by Pfizer and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00948753.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1201248
PMCID: PMC3568501  PMID: 22784116
11.  Negative association between the chemokine receptor CCR5-Δ32 polymorphism and rheumatoid arthritis: A meta-analysis 
Genes and immunity  2006;7(3):264-268.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is characterized by synovial inflammation mediated by T-cells, monocytes and macrophages. The homing of these cells to the inflamed synovium is regulated by chemokine-receptors and their ligands. A 32-basepair deletion (Δ32) in the gene encoding CCR5, a chemokine-receptor, results in a non-functional receptor. A negative association between CCR5-Δ32 and RA has been described, although other studies found no associations. Furthermore, the observation that individuals homozygous for CCR5-Δ32 develop RA has raised questions about the role of CCR5-Δ32. This meta-analysis of all published case-control association studies confirms the negative association between CCR5-Δ32 and RA (Odds Ratio = 0.65; 95 % confidence intervals = 0.55 - 0.77; p < 0.0001), suggesting that CCR5-Δ32 is protective against the development of RA. CCR5 blockade in animal models of RA results in amelioration of arthritis, suggesting that CCR5 blockade could also modify disease in patients with RA.
doi:10.1038/sj.gene.6364298
PMCID: PMC3104293  PMID: 16541097
Rheumatoid arthritis; CCR5; association; case-control; meta-analysis; chemokines
12.  Differential effect of methotrexate on the increased CCR2 density on circulating CD4 T lymphocytes and monocytes in active chronic rheumatoid arthritis, with a down regulation only on monocytes in responders 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2006;66(2):151-157.
Objectives
To evaluate the effect of orally administered methotrexate (MTX) on the density of CC chemokine receptor 2 (CCR2) and CXC chemokine receptor 3 (CXCR3) on circulating monocytes, and the coexpression of CXCR3 and CCR2 on CD4 T lymphocytes in patients with active chronic rheumatoid arthritis.
Methods
All 34 patients with rheumatoid arthritis fulfilled the 1987 American Rheumatism Association criteria and were followed for 16 weeks after starting MTX. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were analysed for CCR2 and CXCR3 density by three‐colour flow cytometry before initiation of MTX and at week 12.
Results
22 (65%) patients were non‐responders, 12 (35%) patients responded to MTX by American College of Rheumatology (ACR)20% criteria, and 8 (24%) of these patients responded by ACR50%. In patients with active rheumatoid arthritis before starting MTX, CCR2 density on circulating monocytes, CD4+ CXCR3+ and CD4+ CXCR3− T lymphocytes was increased compared with controls. During 12 weeks of MTX treatment, the CCR2 density on monocytes decreased significantly in the ACR50% group but not in the ACR20% and non‐responder groups. The increased CCR2 density on CD4+ CXCR3+ and CD4+ CXCR3− T lymphocytes was unaffected by the reduction in disease activity measured in relation to MTX treatment. The percentage of both monocytes and CD4+ CXCR3+ and CD4+ CXCR3− T lymphocytes among the peripheral circulating mononuclear cells did not change during MTX treatment.
Conclusions
Active chronic rheumatoid arthritis is characterised by enhanced CCR2 density on circulating monocytes and CD4+ CXCR3+ and CD4+ CXCR3− T lymphocytes. During MTX treatment, a decrease in CCR2 density on monocytes in the ACR50% responder group was associated with decreased disease activity. The increased CCR2 density on CD4+ CXCR3+ and CD4+ CXCR3− T lymphocytes was uninfluenced by MTX and disease activity.
doi:10.1136/ard.2006.054056
PMCID: PMC1798497  PMID: 16905577
13.  SMALL MOLECULE RECEPTOR AGONISTS AND ANTAGONISTS OF CCR3 PROVIDE INSIGHT INTO MECHANISMS OF CHEMOKINE RECEPTOR ACTIVATION 
The Journal of biological chemistry  2007;282(38):27935-27943.
Chemokine receptor CCR3 is highly expressed by eosinophils and signals in response to binding of the eotaxin family of chemokines, which are upregulated in allergic disorders. Consequently, CCR3 blockade is of interest as a possible therapeutic approach for the treatment of allergic disease. We have described previously a bi-specific antagonist of CCR1 and CCR3 named UCB35625, which was proposed to interact with the transmembrane residues Y41, Y113 and E287 of CCR1, all of which are conserved in CCR3. Here, we show that cells expressing the CCR3 constructs Y113A and E287Q are insensitive to antagonism by UCB35625 and also exhibit impaired chemotaxis in response to CCL11/Eotaxin suggesting that these residues are important for antagonist binding and also receptor activation. Furthermore, mutation of the residue Y113 to alanine was found to turn the antagonist UCB35625 into a CCR3 agonist. Screens of small molecule libraries identified a novel specific agonist of CCR3 named CH0076989. This was able to activate eosinophils and transfectants expressing both wild-type CCR3 and a CCR1:CCR3 chimaeric receptor lacking the CCR3 amino-terminus, indicating that this region of CCR3 is not required for CH0076989 binding. A direct interaction with the transmembrane helices of CCR3 was supported by mutation of the residues Y41, Y113 and E287 which resulted in complete loss of CH0076989 activity, suggesting that the compound mimics activation by CCL11. We conclude that both agonists and antagonists of CCR3 appear to occupy overlapping sites within the transmembrane helical bundle, suggesting a fine line between agonism and antagonism of chemokine receptors.
doi:10.1074/jbc.M703255200
PMCID: PMC2151197  PMID: 17635911
14.  Monocytes/macrophages express chemokine receptor CCR9 in rheumatoid arthritis and CCL25 stimulates their differentiation 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2010;12(4):R161.
Introduction
Monocytes/macrophages accumulate in the rheumatoid (RA) synovium where they play a central role in inflammation and joint destruction. Identification of molecules involved in their accumulation and differentiation is important to inform therapeutic strategies. This study investigated the expression and function of chemokine receptor CCR9 in the peripheral blood (PB) and synovium of RA, non-RA patients and healthy volunteers.
Methods
CCR9 expression on PB monocytes/macrophages was analysed by flow cytometry and in synovium by immunofluorescence. Chemokine receptor CCR9 mRNA expression was examined in RA and non-RA synovium, monocytes/macrophages from PB and synovial fluid (SF) of RA patients and PB of healthy donors using the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Monocyte differentiation and chemotaxis to chemokine ligand 25 (CCL25)/TECK were used to study CCR9 function.
Results
CCR9 was expressed by PB monocytes/macrophages in RA and healthy donors, and increased in RA. In RA and non-RA synovia, CCR9 co-localised with cluster of differentiation 14+ (CD14+) and cluster of differentiation 68+ (CD68+) macrophages, and was more abundant in RA synovium. CCR9 mRNA was detected in the synovia of all RA patients and in some non-RA controls, and monocytes/macrophages from PB and SF of RA and healthy controls. CCL25 was detected in RA and non-RA synovia where it co-localised with CD14+ and CD68+ cells. Tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) increased CCR9 expression on human acute monocytic leukemia cell line THP-1 monocytic cells. CCL25 induced a stronger monocyte differentiation in RA compared to healthy donors. CCL25 induced significant chemotaxis of PB monocytes but not consistently among individuals.
Conclusions
CCR9 expression by monocytes is increased in RA. CCL25 may be involved in the differentiation of monocytes to macrophages particularly in RA.
doi:10.1186/ar3120
PMCID: PMC2945064  PMID: 20738854
15.  CCR2 Gene Deletion and Pharmacologic Blockade Ameliorate a Severe Murine Experimental Autoimmune Neuritis Model of Guillain-Barré Syndrome 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90463.
The molecular determinants and signaling pathways responsible for hematogenous leukocyte trafficking during peripheral neuroinflammation are incompletely elucidated. Chemokine ligand/receptor pair CCL2/CCR2 has been pathogenically implicated in the acute inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy variant of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). We evaluated the role of CCR2 in peripheral neuroinflammation utilizing a severe murine experimental autoimmune neuritis (sm-EAN) model. Sm-EAN was induced in 8–12 week old female SJL CCR2 knockout (CCR2KO), heterozygote (CCR2HT) and wild type (CCR2WT) mice, and daily neuromuscular severity scores and weights recorded. In vitro and in vivo splenocyte proliferation and cytokine expression assays, and sciatic nerve Toll-like receptor (TLR) 2, TLR4 and CCL2 expression assays were performed to evaluate systemic and local innate immune activation at disease onset. Motor nerve electrophysiology and sciatic nerve histology were also performed to characterize the inflammatory neuropathy at expected peak severity. To further determine the functional relevance of CCR2 in sm-EAN, 20 mg/kg CCR2 antagonist, RS 102895 was administered daily for 5 days to a cohort of CCR2WT mice following sm-EAN disease onset, with efficacy compared to 400 mg/kg human intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg). CCR2KO mice were relatively resistant to sm-EAN compared to CCR2WT and CCR2HT mice, associated with attenuated peripheral nerve demyelinating neuritis. Partial CCR2 gene deletion did not confer any protection against sm-EAN. CCR2KO mice demonstrated similar splenocyte activation or proliferation profiles, as well as TLR2, TLR4 and CCL2 expression to CCR2WT or CCR2HT mice, implying a direct role for CCR2 in sm-EAN pathogenesis. CCR2 signaling blockade resulted in rapid, near complete recovery from sm-EAN following disease onset. RS 102895 was significantly more efficacious than IVIg. CCR2 mediates pathogenic hematogenous monocyte trafficking into peripheral nerves, with consequential demyelination in sm-EAN. CCR2 is amenable to pharmacologic blockade, making it a plausible drug target for GBS.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0090463
PMCID: PMC3954548  PMID: 24632828
16.  Interaction of Chemokine Receptor CCR5 with its Ligands: Multiple Domains for HIV-1 gp120 Binding and a Single Domain for Chemokine Binding  
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  1997;186(8):1373-1381.
CCR5 is a chemokine receptor expressed by T cells and macrophages, which also functions as the principal coreceptor for macrophage (M)-tropic strains of HIV-1. To understand the molecular basis of the binding of chemokines and HIV-1 to CCR5, we developed a number of mAbs that inhibit the various interactions of CCR5, and mapped the binding sites of these mAbs using a panel of CCR5/CCR2b chimeras. One mAb termed 2D7 completely blocked the binding and chemotaxis of the three natural chemokine ligands of CCR5, RANTES (regulated on activation normal T cell expressed and secreted), macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1α, and MIP-1β, to CCR5 transfectants. This mAb was a genuine antagonist of CCR5, since it failed to stimulate an increase in intracellular calcium concentration in the CCR5 transfectants, but blocked calcium responses elicited by RANTES, MIP-1α, or MIP-1β. This mAb inhibited most of the RANTES and MIP-1α chemotactic responses of activated T cells, but not of monocytes, suggesting differential usage of chemokine receptors by these two cell types. The 2D7 binding site mapped to the second extracellular loop of CCR5, whereas a group of mAbs that failed to block chemokine binding all mapped to the NH2-terminal region of CCR5. Efficient inhibition of an M-tropic HIV-1–derived envelope glycoprotein gp120 binding to CCR5 could be achieved with mAbs recognizing either the second extracellular loop or the NH2-terminal region, although the former showed superior inhibition. Additionally, 2D7 efficiently blocked the infectivity of several M-tropic and dual-tropic HIV-1 strains in vitro. These results suggest a complicated pattern of HIV-1 gp120 binding to different regions of CCR5, but a relatively simple pattern for chemokine binding. We conclude that the second extracellular loop of CCR5 is an ideal target site for the development of inhibitors of either chemokine or HIV-1 binding to CCR5.
PMCID: PMC2199098  PMID: 9334377
17.  Establishment of a novel CCR5 and CXCR4 expressing CD4+ cell line which is highly sensitive to HIV and suitable for high-throughput evaluation of CCR5 and CXCR4 antagonists 
Retrovirology  2004;1:2.
Background
CCR5 and CXCR4 are the two main coreceptors essential for HIV entry. Therefore, these chemokine receptors have become important targets in the search for anti-HIV agents. Here, we describe the establishment of a novel CD4+ cell line, U87.CD4.CCR5.CXCR4, stably expressing both CCR5 and CXCR4 at the cell surface.
Results
In these cells, intracellular calcium signalling through both receptors can be measured in a single experiment upon the sequential addition of CXCR4- and CCR5-directed chemokines. The U87.CD4.CCR5.CXCR4 cell line reliably supported HIV-1 infection of diverse laboratory-adapted strains and primary isolates with varying coreceptor usage (R5, X4 and R5/X4) and allows to investigate the antiviral efficacy of combined CCR5 and CXCR4 blockade. The antiviral effects recorded in these cells with the CCR5 antagonist SCH-C and the CXCR4 antagonist AMD3100 were similar to those noted in the single CCR5- or CXCR4-transfected U87.CD4 cells. Furthermore, the combination of both inhibitors blocked the infection of all evaluated HIV-1 strains and isolates.
Conclusions
Thus, the U87.CD4.CCR5.CXCR4 cell line should be useful in the evaluation of CCR5 and CXCR4 antagonists with therapeutic potential and combinations thereof.
doi:10.1186/1742-4690-1-2
PMCID: PMC416571  PMID: 15169555
18.  Dual targeting of CCR2 and CX3CR1 in an arterial injury model of vascular inflammation 
Thrombosis Journal  2010;8:14.
Objectives
The chemokine receptors CCR2 and CX3CR1 are important in the development of coronary artery disease. The purpose of this study is to analyze the effect of a novel CCR2 inhibitor in conjunction with CX3CR1 deletion on vascular inflammation.
Methods
The novel CCR2 antagonist MRL-677 was characterized using an in vivo model of monocyte migration. To determine the relative roles of CCR2 and CX3CR1 in vascular remodeling, normal or CX3CR1 deficient mice were treated with MRL-677. After 14 days, the level of intimal hyperplasia in the artery was visualized by paraffin sectioning and histology of the hind limbs.
Results
MRL-677 is a CCR2 antagonist that is effective in blocking macrophage trafficking in a peritoneal thioglycollate model. Intimal hyperplasia resulting from vascular injury was also assessed in mice. Based on the whole-blood potency of MRL-677, sufficient drug levels were maintained for the entire 14 day experimental period to afford good coverage of mCCR2 with MRL-677. Blocking CCR2 with MRL-677 resulted in a 56% decrease in the vascular injury response (n = 9, p < 0.05) in normal animals. Mice in which both CCR2 and CX3CR1 pathways were targeted (CX3CR1 KO mice given MRL-677) had an 88% decrease in the injury response (n = 6, p = 0.009).
Conclusion
In this study we have shown that blocking CCR2 with a low molecular weight antagonist ameliorates the inflammatory response to vascular injury. The protective effect of CCR2 blockade is increased in the presence of CX3CR1 deficiency suggesting that CX3CR1 and CCR2 have non-redundant functions in the progression of vascular inflammation.
doi:10.1186/1477-9560-8-14
PMCID: PMC3161339  PMID: 20836883
19.  Association of two functional polymorphisms in the CCR5 gene with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis 
Genes and immunity  2006;7(6):468-475.
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) is mediated by Th1-immune responses. In children with JRA, synovial T-cells express high levels of the Th1-chemokine receptor CCR5, which has been implicated in susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis. To test the hypothesis that genetic variation in CCR5 is associated with susceptibility to JRA, we analyzed patterns of variation in the 5'cis-regulatory region of CCR5 in 124 multiplex families from a JRA affected-sibpair registry. After sequencing the upstream region of CCR5, variants were tested for association with JRA by transmission disequilibrium testing. A single nucleotide polymorphism, C-1835T, was significantly under-transmitted to children with early-onset JRA (p<0.01). C-1835T was genotyped in 424 additional simplex and multiplex families. CCR5-1835T allele was under-transmitted in the cohort of all probands with JRA (p<0.02), as well as in those with early-onset (p<0.01) or pauciarticular JRA (p<0.05). Another variant, a 32-bp deletion in the open reading frame of CCR5, (CCR5-Δ32), was also tested in ~700 simplex and multiplex families. CCR5-Δ32 was also significantly under-transmitted to probands with early-onset JRA (p<0.05). Both variants are in regions under natural selection, and result in functional consequences. Our results suggest these CCR5 variants are protective against early-onset JRA.
doi:10.1038/sj.gene.6364317
PMCID: PMC2927816  PMID: 16775617
Juvenile arthritis; CCR5; association; TDT; autoimmunity; chemokines
20.  Clinical use of CCR5 inhibitors in HIV and beyond 
Journal of Translational Medicine  2011;9(Suppl 1):S9.
Since the discovery of CCR5 as a coreceptor for HIV entry, there has been interest in blockade of the receptor for treatment and prevention of HIV infection. Although several CCR5 antagonists have been evaluated in clinical trials, only maraviroc has been approved for clinical use in the treatment of HIV-infected patients. The efficacy, safety and resistance profile of CCR5 antagonists with a focus on maraviroc are reviewed here along with their usage in special and emerging clinical situations. Despite being approved for use since 2007, the optimal use of maraviroc has yet to be well-defined in HIV and potentially in other diseases. Maraviroc and other CCR5 antagonists have the potential for use in a variety of other clinical situations such as the prevention of HIV transmission, intensification of HIV treatment and prevention of rejection in organ transplantation. The use of CCR5 antagonists may be potentiated by other agents such as rapamycin which downregulate CCR5 receptors thus decreasing CCR5 density. There may even be a role for their use in combination with other entry inhibitors. However, clinical use of CCR5 antagonists may have negative consequences in diseases such as West Nile and Tick-borne encephalitis virus infections. In summary, CCR5 antagonists have great therapeutic potential in the treatment and prevention of HIV as well as future use in novel situations such as organ transplantation. Their optimal use either alone or in combination with other agents will be defined by further investigation.
doi:10.1186/1479-5876-9-S1-S9
PMCID: PMC3105509  PMID: 21284908
21.  DISTINCT CONFORMATIONS OF THE CHEMOKINE RECEPTOR CCR4 WITH IMPLICATIONS FOR ITS TARGETING IN ALLERGY 
The chemokine receptor CCR4 is expressed by Th2 and Tregs and directs their migration along gradients of the chemokines CCL17 and CCL22. Both chemokines and receptor are upregulated in allergic disease, making CCR4 a therapeutic target for the treatment of allergy. We set out to assess the mechanisms underlying a previous report that CCL22 is a dominant ligand of CCR4, which may have implications for its therapeutic targeting. Human T-cells expressing endogenous CCR4 and transfectants engineered to express CCR4 were assessed for receptor function using assays of calcium release, chemotaxis, receptor endocytosis and ligand binding. Despite the two ligands having equal potency in calcium flux and chemotaxis assays, CCL22 showed dominance in both receptor endocytosis assays and heterologous competitive binding assays. Using two different CCR4-specific antibodies, we showed that CCR4 exists in at least two distinct conformations, which are differentially activated by ligand. A major population is activated by both CCL17 and CCL22, whilst a minor population is activated only by CCL22. Mutation of a single C-terminal residue K310 within a putative CCR4 antagonist binding site, ablated activation of CCR4 by CCL17 but not by CCL22, despite having no effect on the binding of either ligand. We conclude that CCL17 and CCL22 are conformationally selective ligands of CCR4 and interact with the receptor by substantially different mechanisms. This suggests that the selective blockade of CCR4 in allergy may be feasible where one CCR4 ligand dominates, allowing the inhibition of Th2 signalling via one ligand whilst sparing Treg recruitment via another.
doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1300232
PMCID: PMC3965571  PMID: 24563252
22.  Structural Insights from Binding Poses of CCR2 and CCR5 with Clinically Important Antagonists: A Combined In Silico Study 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e32864.
Chemokine receptors are G protein-coupled receptors that contain seven transmembrane domains. In particular, CCR2 and CCR5 and their ligands have been implicated in the pathophysiology of a number of diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Based on their roles in disease, they have been attractive targets for the pharmaceutical industry, and furthermore, targeting both CCR2 and CCR5 can be a useful strategy. Owing to the importance of these receptors, information regarding the binding site is of prime importance. Structural studies have been hampered due to the lack of X-ray crystal structures, and templates with close homologs for comparative modeling. Most of the previous models were based on the bovine rhodopsin and β2-adrenergic receptor. In this study, based on a closer homolog with higher resolution (CXCR4, PDB code: 3ODU 2.5 Å), we constructed three-dimensional models. The main aim of this study was to provide relevant information on binding sites of these receptors. Molecular dynamics simulation was done to refine the homology models and PROCHECK results indicated that the models were reasonable. Here, binding poses were checked with some established inhibitors of high pharmaceutical importance against the modeled receptors. Analysis of interaction modes gave an integrated interpretation with detailed structural information. The binding poses confirmed that the acidic residues Glu291 (CCR2) and Glu283 (CCR5) are important, and we also found some additional residues. Comparisons of binding sites of CCR2/CCR5 were done sequentially and also by docking a potent dual antagonist. Our results can be a starting point for further structure-based drug design.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032864
PMCID: PMC3314010  PMID: 22479344
23.  Differential expression of chemokine receptors on peripheral blood B cells from patients with rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2005;7(5):R1001-R1013.
Chemokines and their receptors are essential in the recruitment and positioning of lymphocytes. To address the question of B cell migration into the inflamed synovial tissue of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), peripheral blood naive B cells, memory B cells and plasma cells were analyzed for cell surface expression of the chemokine receptors CXCR3, CXCR4, CXCR5, CCR5, CCR6, CCR7 and CCR9. For comparison, B cells in the peripheral blood of patients with the autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or with the degenerative disease osteoarthritis (OA) were analyzed. Expression levels of chemokine receptors were measured by flow cytometry and were compared between the different patient groups and healthy individuals. The analysis of chemokine receptor expression showed that the majority of peripheral blood B cells is positive for CXCR3, CXCR4, CXCR5, CCR6 and CCR7. Whereas a small fraction of B cells were positive for CCR5, practically no expression of CCR9 was found. In comparison with healthy individuals, in patients with RA a significant fraction of B cells showed a decreased expression of CXCR5 and CCR6 and increased levels of CXCR3. The downregulation of CXCR5 correlated with an upregulation of CXCR3. In patients with SLE, significant changes in CXCR5 expression were seen. The functionality of the chemokine receptors CXCR3 and CXCR4 was demonstrated by transmigration assays with the chemokines CXCL10 and CXCL12, respectively. Our results suggest that chronic inflammation leads to modulation of chemokine receptor expression on peripheral blood B cells. However, differences between patients with RA and patients with SLE point toward a disease-specific regulation of receptor expression. These differences may influence the migrational behavior of B cells.
doi:10.1186/ar1776
PMCID: PMC1257429  PMID: 16207316
24.  C-C chemokine receptor type 5 (CCR5) utilization of transmitted and early founder human immunodeficiency virus type 1 envelopes and sensitivity to small-molecule CCR5 inhibitors 
The Journal of General Virology  2010;91(Pt 12):2965-2973.
The envelope glycoprotein (Env) of human immunodeficiency virus is key to viral entry of susceptible target cells and is therefore a major target for the design of vaccines and antiviral drugs. C-C chemokine receptor type 5 (CCR5)-using (R5) Env is the predominant phenotype associated with early transmission and acute infection. This study investigated the mechanism of CCR5 use and the sensitivity to CCR5 inhibitors of a panel of transmitted or early founder (T/F) Envs. The data showed that the majority of T/F Envs used CCR5 and that many also used CCR3, although less efficiently. Despite a similar ability to use wild-type CCR5, individual Envs differed significantly in their sensitivity to the CCR5 inhibitors maraviroc, CMPD-167 and SCH-412147. Inhibitor mapping experiments demonstrated that maraviroc, CMPD-167 and SCH-412147 interfered with the binding of CCR5 mAb to the C-terminal half of the second extracellular loop 2 of CCR5. Interestingly, Envs resistant to maraviroc, CMPD167 and SCH-412147 remained sensitive to TAK-779. Further studies indicated that the sensitivity of Envs to CCR5 inhibitors correlated with the molecular anatomy of CCR5 use, revealing that the inhibitor-sensitive Envs barely used the CCR5 N terminus, whereas resistant Envs showed a marked increase in its use. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that T/F R5 Envs are heterogeneous with respect to the mechanisms of CCR5 utilization. These data may have implications for therapeutic and prophylactic use of CCR5-based antiretrovirals.
doi:10.1099/vir.0.025270-0
PMCID: PMC3052564  PMID: 20810746
25.  Expression of the chemokine receptor CCR5 in psoriasis and results of a randomized placebo controlled trial with a CCR5 inhibitor 
Archives of Dermatological Research  2007;299(7):305-313.
Several reports have indicated that the chemokine receptor CCR5 and its ligands, especially CCL5 (formerly known as RANTES), may play a role in the pathogenesis of psoriasis. The purpose of this investigation was to examine the expression of CCR5 and its ligands in chronic plaque psoriasis and to evaluate the clinical and immunohistochemical effect of a CCR5 receptor inhibitor. Immunohistochemical analysis showed low but significant increased total numbers of CCR5 positive cells in epidermis and dermis of lesional skin in comparison to non-lesional skin. However, relative expression of CCR5 proportional to the cells observed revealed that the difference between lesional and non-lesional skin was only statistically significant in the epidermis for CD3 positive cells and in the dermis for CD68 positive cells. Quantification of mRNA by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction only showed an increased expression of CCL5 (RANTES) in lesional skin. A randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial in 32 psoriasis patients revealed no significant clinical effect and no changes at the immunohistochemical level comparing patients treated with placebo or a CCR5 inhibitor SCH351125. We conclude that although CCR5 expression is increased in psoriatic lesions, this receptor does not play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of psoriasis.
doi:10.1007/s00403-007-0764-7
PMCID: PMC1950346  PMID: 17647003
Psoriasis; CCR5; Chemokine inhibitor

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