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Research Article

The chemokine receptors CXCR3 and CCR5 mark subsets of T cells associated with certain inflammatory reactions.

S Qin, J B Rottman, P Myers, N Kassam, M Weinblatt, M Loetscher, A E Koch, B Moser and C R Mackay

LeukoSite, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142, USA. shixin_qin@leukosite.com

Published February 15, 1998

T cells infiltrating inflammatory sites are usually of the activated/memory type. The precise mechanism for the positioning of these cells within tissues is unclear. Adhesion molecules certainly play a role; however, the intricate control of cell migration appears to be mediated by numerous chemokines and their receptors. Particularly important chemokines for activated/memory T cells are the CXCR3 ligands IP-10 and Mig and the CCR5 ligands RANTES, macrophage inflammatory protein-1alpha, and macrophage inflammatory protein-1beta. We raised anti-CXCR3 mAbs and were able to detect high levels of CXCR3 expression on activated T cells. Surprisingly, a proportion of circulating blood T cells, B cells, and natural killer cells also expressed CXCR3. CCR5 showed a similar expression pattern as CXCR3, but was expressed on fewer circulating T cells. Blood T cells expressing CXCR3 (and CCR5) were mostly CD45RO+, and generally expressed high levels of beta1 integrins. This phenotype resembled that of T cells infiltrating inflammatory lesions. Immunostaining of T cells in rheumatoid arthritis synovial fluid confirmed that virtually all such T cells expressed CXCR3 and approximately 80% expressed CCR5, representing high enrichment over levels of CXCR3+ and CCR5+ T cells in blood, 35 and 15%, respectively. Analysis by immunohistochemistry of various inflamed tissues gave comparable findings in that virtually all T cells within the lesions expressed CXCR3, particularly in perivascular regions, whereas far fewer T cells within normal lymph nodes expressed CXCR3 or CCR5. These results demonstrate that the chemokine receptor CXCR3 and CCR5 are markers for T cells associated with certain inflammatory reactions, particularly TH-1 type reactions. Moreover, CXCR3 and CCR5 appear to identify subsets of T cells in blood with a predilection for homing to these sites.

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