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J Immunol. 2000 Nov 1;165(9):5287-94.

Transepithelial neutrophil migration is CXCR1 dependent in vitro and is defective in IL-8 receptor knockout mice.

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  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine, Division of Microbiology, Immunology and Glycobiology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.


Neutrophil migration across infected mucosal surfaces is chemokine dependent, but the role of chemokine receptors has not been investigated. In this study, chemokine receptors were shown to be expressed by epithelial cells lining the urinary tract, and to play an essential role for neutrophil migration across the mucosal barrier. Uroepithelial CXCR1 and CXCR2 expression was detected in human urinary tract biopsies, and in vitro infection of human uroepithelial cell lines caused a dramatic increase in both receptors. As a consequence, there was higher binding of IL-8 to the cells and the IL-8-dependent neutrophil migration across the infected epithelial cell layers was enhanced. Abs to IL-8 or to the CXCR1 receptor inhibited this increase by 60% (p<0.004), but anti-CXCR2 Abs had no effect, suggesting that CXCR1 was the more essential receptor in this process. Similar observations were made in the mouse urinary tract, where experimental infection stimulated epithelial expression of the murine IL-8 receptor, followed by a rapid flux of neutrophils into the lumen. IL-8 receptor knockout mice, in contrast, failed to express the receptor, their neutrophils were unable to cross the epithelial barrier, and accumulated in massive numbers in the tissues. These results demonstrate that epithelial cells express CXC receptors and that infection increases receptor expression. Furthermore, we show that CXCR1 is required for neutrophil migration across infected epithelial cell layers in vitro, and that the murine IL-8 receptor is needed for neutrophils to cross the infected mucosa of the urinary tract in vivo.

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