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FASEB J. 2006 May;20(7):896-905.

The neuronal chemokine CX3CL1/fractalkine selectively recruits NK cells that modify experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis within the central nervous system.

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Neuroinflammation Research Center, Department of Neurosciences NC30, Lerner Research Institute, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 9500 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, Ohio 44195, USA.


Leukocyte trafficking to the central nervous system (CNS), regulated in part by chemokines, determines severity of the demyelinating diseases multiple sclerosis (MS) and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). To examine chemokine receptor CX3CR1 in EAE, we studied CX3CR1(GFP/GFP) mice, in which CX3CR1 targeting by insertion of Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) allowed tracking of CX3CR1+ cells in CX3CR1(+/GFP) animals and cells destined to express CX3CR1 in CX3CR1(GFP/GFP) knockouts. NK cells were markedly reduced in the inflamed CNS of CX3CR1-deficient mice with EAE, whereas recruitment of T cells, NKT cells and monocyte/macrophages to the CNS during EAE did not require CX3CR1. Impaired recruitment of NK cells in CX3CR1(GFP/GFP) mice was associated with increased EAE-related mortality, nonremitting spastic paraplegia and hemorrhagic inflammatory lesions. The absence of CD1d did not affect the severity of EAE in CX3CR1(GFP/GFP) mice, arguing against a role for NKT cells. Accumulation of NK cells in livers of wild-type (WT) and CX3CR1(GFP/GFP) mice with cytomegalovirus hepatitis was equivalent, indicating that CX3CL1 mediated chemoattraction of NK cells was relatively specific for the CNS. These results are the first to define a chemokine that governs NK cell migration to the CNS, and the findings suggest novel therapeutic manipulation of CX3CR1+ NK cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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