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Glia. 2003 Apr 15;42(2):139-48.

Role of the alpha-chemokine stromal cell-derived factor (SDF-1) in the developing and mature central nervous system.

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Unité de Neurovirologie et Régénération du Système Nerveux, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.


alpha-chemokines, which control the activation and directed migration of leukocytes, participate in the inflammatory processes in host defense response. One of the alpha-chemokines, CXCL12 or stromal cell-derived factor 1 (SDF-1), not only regulates cell growth and migration of hematopoietic stem cells but may also play a central role in brain development as we discuss here. SDF-1 indeed activates the CXCR4 receptor expressed in a variety of neural cells, and this signaling results in diverse biological effects. It enhances migration and proliferation of cerebellar granule cells, chemoattracts microglia, and stimulates cytokine production and glutamate release by astrocytes. Moreover, it elicits postsynaptic currents in Purkinje cells, triggers migration of cortical neuron progenitors, and produces pain by directly exciting nociceptive neurons. By modulating cell signaling and survival during neuroinflammation, SDF-1 may also play a role in the pathogenesis of brain tumors, experimental allergic encephalitis, and the nervous system dysfunction associated with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

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