The Biology of Chemokines and their Receptors
During the last five years, the development of bioinformatics and EST databases has been primarily responsible for the identification of many new chemokines and chemokine receptors. The chemokine field has also received considerable attention since chemokine receptors were found to act as co-receptors for HIV infection (1). In addition, chemokines, along with adhesion molecules, are crucial during inflammatory responses for a timely recruitment of specific leukocyte subpopulations to sites of tissue damage. However, chemokines and their receptors are also important in dendritic cell maturation (2), B (3), and T (4) cell development, Th1 and Th2 responses, infections, angiogenesis, and tumor growth as well as metastasis (5). Furthermore, an increase in the number of chemokine/receptor transgenic and knock-out mice has helped to define the functions of chemokines in vivo. In this review we discuss some of the chemokines' biological effects in vivo and in vitro, described in the last few years, and the implications of these findings when considering chemokine receptors as therapeutic targets.
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