Chemokines are a group of cytokines that are responsible for the influx of blood cells, including T and B lymphocytes, monocytes, neutrophils, eosinophils and basophils, in allergic and other inflammatory conditions. They function as G protein-coupled chemotactic factors which also activate the cells with which they interact. Certain chemokines function within the afferent arm of the immune system, in which antigen is processed and antibody formation initiated, and others are active within the effector pathways of cellular immunity and late-phase allergic reactions. Th2 lymphocytes, which are critical for allergy, employ the CC chemokine receptors CCR4 and CCR8 with the ligands thymus- and activation-regulated chemokine (TARC), macrophage-derived chemokine (MDC) and I-309, respectively. The chemokine receptor CCR3 and ligands monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-3, MCP-4, regulated upon activation normal T cell expressed and secreted (RANTES) and eotaxins I and II are of particular relevance for the recruitment and activation of eosinophils. Th1 reactions depend upon interferon gamma-induced CXC chemokines interferon- inducible protein (IP)-10, interferon-inducible T cell-alpha chemoattractant (iTAC) and monokine induced by interferon-gamma (MiG), which bind to chemokine receptor CXCR3.
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