The chemokine receptor CCR4 in vascular recognition by cutaneous but not intestinal memory T cells

Nature. 1999 Aug 19;400(6746):776-80. doi: 10.1038/23495.


Lymphocytes that are responsible for regional (tissue-specific) immunity home from the blood to the intestines, inflamed skin or other sites through a multistep process involving recognition of vascular endothelial cells and extravasation. Chemoattractant cytokine molecules known as chemokines regulate this lymphocyte traffic, in part by triggering arrest (stopping) of lymphocytes rolling on endothelium. Here we show that many systemic memory T cells in blood carry the chemokine receptor CCR4 and therefore respond to its ligands, the chemokines TARC and MDC. These cells include essentially all skin-homing cells expressing the cutaneous lymphocyte antigen and a subset of other systemic memory lymphocytes; however, intestinal (alpha4beta7+) memory and naive T cells respond poorly. Immunohistochemistry reveals anti-TARC reactivity of venules and infiltration of many CCR4+ lymphocytes in chronically inflamed skin, but not in the gastrointestinal lamina propria. Moreover, TARC induces integrin-dependent adhesion of skin (but not intestinal) memory T cells to the cell-adhesion molecule ICAM-1, and causes their rapid arrest under physiological flow. Our results suggest that CCR4 and TARC are important in the recognition of skin vasculature by circulating T cells and in directing lymphocytes that are involved in systemic as opposed to intestinal immunity to their target tissues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Chemokine CCL17
  • Chemokine CCL22
  • Chemokines, CC / immunology
  • Chemotaxis, Leukocyte
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Intestines / immunology*
  • Receptors, CCR4
  • Receptors, Chemokine / metabolism*
  • Skin / blood supply
  • Skin / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • Venules / immunology


  • CCL17 protein, human
  • CCL22 protein, human
  • CCR4 protein, human
  • Chemokine CCL17
  • Chemokine CCL22
  • Chemokines, CC
  • Receptors, CCR4
  • Receptors, Chemokine