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J Clin Invest. 1999 Jul;104(1):115-21.

The chemokine receptor CXCR3 is expressed on malignant B cells and mediates chemotaxis.

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Padua University School of Medicine, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Clinical Immunology Branch, 35128 Padova, Italy.


B- and T-cell recirculation is crucial for the function of the immune system, with the control of cell migration being mainly mediated by several chemokines and their receptors. In this study, we investigated the expression and function of CXCR3 on normal and malignant B cells from 65 patients with chronic lymphoproliferative disorders (CLDs). Although CXCR3 is lacking on CD5(+) and CD5(-) B cells from healthy subjects, it is expressed on leukemic B lymphocytes from all (31/31) patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). The presence of CXCR3 was heterogeneous in other B-cell disorders, being expressed in 2 of 7 patients with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), 4 of 12 patients with hairy cell leukemia (HCL), and 11 of 15 patients with other subtypes of non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHLs). Chemotaxis assay shows that normal B cells from healthy subjects do not migrate in response to IFN-inducible protein 10 (IP-10) and IFN-gamma-induced monokine (Mig). In contrast, a definite migration in response to IP-10 and Mig has been observed in all malignant B cells from patients with CLL, but not in patients with HCL or MCL (1/7 cases tested). Neoplastic B cells from other NHLs showed a heterogenous pattern. The migration elicited by IP-10 and Mig was inhibited by blocking CXCR3. No effect of IP-10 and Mig chemokines was observed on the cytosolic calcium concentration in malignant B cells. The data reported here demonstrate that CXCR3 is expressed on malignant B cells from CLDs, particularly in patients with CLL, and represents a fully functional receptor involved in chemotaxis of malignant B lymphocytes.

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