Stromal-cell derived factor is expressed by dendritic cells and endothelium in human skin

Am J Pathol. 1999 Nov;155(5):1577-86. doi: 10.1016/S0002-9440(10)65474-0.


Stromal-cell derived factor or SDF-1 is a CXC chemokine constitutively expressed by stromal bone marrow cell cultures that binds to the G-protein-coupled receptor CXCR4. SDF-1/CXCR4 represents a unique, nonpromiscuous ligand/receptor pair that plays an essential role in prenatal myelo- and lymphopoiesis as well as in cardiovascular and neural development. SDF-1 prevents entry of CXCR4-dependent (X4) HIV viruses in T lymphocytes, by binding and internalizing CXCR4. The expression pattern of SDF-1 protein in normal tissues is not known. Here we describe an analysis of SDF-1 mRNA and protein in normal and inflamed skin by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry, using a novel anti-SDF-1 monoclonal antibody. We also describe the expression pattern of CXCR4 receptor by immunohistochemistry. Our results show that SDF-1 protein and mRNA are normally expressed by endothelial cells, pericytes, and either resident or explanted CD1a+ dendritic cells. Epithelial cells of sweat glands but not keratinocytes also express SDF-1. In various inflammatory skin diseases, a large number of mononuclear cells and fibroblasts in close contact with CXCR4-positive lymphocytic infiltrates also express SDF-1. CXCR4 was also detected in many different normal cell types, including endothelial and epithelial cells, which points to a role for SDF-1/CXCR4 cell signaling in vascular and epithelial homeostasis. The demonstration of SDF-1 expression in dendritic and endothelial cells provides new insights into the mechanisms of normal and pathological lymphocyte circulation and makes it possible to envisage a role for locally secreted SDF-1 in the selective incapacity of mucosal dendritic cells to support and propagate infection by X4 HIV isolates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chemokine CXCL12
  • Chemokines, CXC / biosynthesis*
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Microcirculation
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Pericytes / metabolism
  • Receptors, CXCR4 / biosynthesis
  • Skin / blood supply
  • Skin / metabolism*
  • Skin / pathology


  • CXCL12 protein, human
  • Chemokine CXCL12
  • Chemokines, CXC
  • Receptors, CXCR4