Expression pattern of CXCR3, CXCR4, and CCR3 chemokine receptors in the developing human brain

J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2001 Jan;60(1):25-32. doi: 10.1093/jnen/60.1.25.


Chemokine receptors are essential components of the immune and central nervous systems, but little is known about their distribution during development. We evaluated the distribution of 3 chemokine receptors: CXCR3, CXCR4, and CCR3 in the human developing brain. Of these, CXCR3 was the only receptor expressed in fetal brain at 26 wk of gestation and its expression was restricted to glial cells, endothelial cells, and the choroid plexus. Neuronal staining was only seen at term in the Purkinje cells of the cerebellum. CCR3 appeared only at term in both neurons and glial cells. The expression pattern of these 2 receptors in the late gestation and term resembled that of adults. CXCR4 could not be detected in the fetal brain on neurons nor on glial cells. By examining pediatric cases, we determined that CXCR4 expression commences sometimes between 3.5 and 4.5 yr. Two of the chemokine receptors examined, CCR3 and CXCR4, can be used as co-receptor together with CD4 for HIV entry, but neither was expressed during the second trimester of pregnancy. Our findings suggest that it is unlikely that CCR3 or CXCR4 play a major role in HIV-1 transmission in the fetal brain before 37 wk of gestation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Brain / embryology*
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development / physiology
  • Fetus / physiology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Receptors, CCR3
  • Receptors, CXCR3
  • Receptors, CXCR4 / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Chemokine / metabolism*


  • CCR3 protein, human
  • CXCR3 protein, human
  • Receptors, CCR3
  • Receptors, CXCR3
  • Receptors, CXCR4
  • Receptors, Chemokine