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Microvasc Res. 2005 Jul;70(1-2):53-64. Epub 2005 May 31.

CCR2 expression by brain microvascular endothelial cells is critical for macrophage transendothelial migration in response to CCL2.

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Blood-Brain Barrier Laboratory, Department of Pharmacology, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT 06030, USA.


While the expression of chemokine receptors by endothelial cells is now well established, little is known of the function of these receptors at this cellular locale. However, given that chemokines are instrumental in directing leukocytes to specific parenchymal sites, one possibility is that endothelial chemokine receptors play a role in the process of leukocyte extravasation. To test this hypothesis, we investigated the contribution of CCR2, the major cognate receptor for the chemokine CCL2 (formerly known as MCP-1), to CCL2-stimulated transendothelial migration of macrophages (mØ) across cultured brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMEC). Specifically, we prepared both BMEC and mØ from wild-type (WT) mice and mice deficient in CCR2; i.e., CCR2 (-/-), and compared the ability of WT and CCR2 (-/-) BMEC to support CCL2-stimulated transendothelial migration of WT and CCR2 (-/-) mØ. In response to CCL2, WT mØ, but not CCR2 (-/-) mØ, were stimulated to migrate across WT BMEC, consistent with the recognized obligatory role for CCR2 in mediating CCL2-stimulated responses. Remarkably, however, neither WT nor CCR2 (-/-) mØ were stimulated by CCL2 to migrate across CCR2 (-/-) BMEC. In contrast, both types of mØ were able to migrate similarly across both types of BMEC in response to another chemokine--CCL3 (formerly known as MIP-1alpha)--which utilizes receptors other than CCR2. Lastly, CCL2-induced mØ transendothelial migration was blocked by treatment of WT BMEC with pertussis toxin, suggesting that CCR2 is functionally coupled to the inhibitory G protein Galphai, much as it is in other cell types. These results highlight a heretofore-unrecognized role for endothelial CCR2 in mediating transendothelial migration.

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