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An apparent paradox: Chemokine receptor agonists can be used for anti-inflammatory therapy

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Simi Ali, Dr Graeme O'Boyle, Paul Mellor, Emeritus Professor John Kirby


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Inflammation plays an important role in a wide range of human diseases. Chemokines are a group of proteins which control the migration and activation of the immune cells involved in all aspects of the inflammatory response. Chemokines bind to specific receptors of the seven-transmembrane spanning type on target leukocytes and also bind to cell-surface glycosaminoglycans (GAG). Leukocytes express a range of chemokine receptors which can cross-desensitise each other, potentially allowing a single chemokine receptor agonist to desensitise all the chemokine receptors on a cell. If an appropriate single receptor agonist is engineered to be non-chemotactic itself, then a treated cell will lose the potential to migrate in response to chemokines towards any developing site of inflammation. A non-GAG-binding but receptor agonistic form of the chemokine CCL7 can inhibit leukocyte recruitment in response to a diverse range of chemokines in vitro and in vivo. We hypothesise that this modified chemokine mediates its effect by inducing homologous and heterologous receptor desensitisation and further propose that other suitable candidates could include agonistic chemokine receptor-specific antibodies or small molecule chemokine receptor agonists. Hence, an appropriate chemokine receptor agonist could be used to inhibit multiple chemokine receptors, thereby producing a powerful and robust anti-inflammatory effect. This review considers the mechanisms leading to chemokine receptor desensitisation and discusses the potential to develop a new class of anti-inflammatory agents based on targeted stimulation of chemokine receptors. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ali S, O'Boyle G, Mellor P, Kirby JA

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Molecular Immunology

Year: 2007

Volume: 44

Issue: 7

Pages: 1477-1482

ISSN (print): 0161-5890

ISSN (electronic): 1872-9142


DOI: 10.1016/j.molimm.2006.08.011

PubMed id: 17000001