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Life Sci. 2003 Dec 5;74(2-3):321-7.

Chemokines and their receptors in the brain: pathophysiological roles in ischemic brain injury.

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Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyoto University, 606-8501, Kyoto, Japan.


Chemokines constitute a large family of structurally-related small cytokines originally identified as factors regulating the migration of leukocytes in inflammatory and immune responses. Production of chemokines and their receptors in the brain has been reported under various pathological conditions. We revealed that mRNA expression for monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) and macrophage inflammatory protein-1alpha (MIP-1alpha), members of the CC chemokines, was induced in the rat brain after focal cerebral ischemia, and that intracerebroventricular injection of viral macrophage inflammatory protein-II (vMIP-II), a broad-spectrum chemokine receptor antagonist, reduced infarct volume in a dose-dependent manner. These findings suggest that brain chemokines are involved in ischemic injury, and that chemokine receptors are potential targets for therapeutic intervention in stroke. Another potential target to suppress the harmful effect of chemokines is the signal transmission system(s) regulating the chemokine production. However, very little is known about how the production of chemokines is regulated in the ischemic brain. We examined the induction of MCP-1 production by excitotoxic injury via activation of NMDA receptors in the cortico-striatal slice cultures, and found that excitotoxic injury induced MCP-1 production in the slice culture. Almost all of the MCP-1 immunoreactivity was located on astrocytes. On the other hand, NMDA-treatment failed to increase the MCP-1 production in the enriched astrocyte cultures, indicating that NMDA dose not directly act on astrocytes. Some signal(s) is likely sent from the injured neurons to astrocytes to induce the MCP-1 production. These results showed that organotypic slice cultures are useful to investigate the molecular mechanism regulating the chemokine production in the injured brain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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