Fractalkine (CX3CL1) as an amplification circuit of polarized Th1 responses

J Clin Invest. 2001 May;107(9):1173-81. doi: 10.1172/JCI11517.


Fractalkine (FKN, CX3CL1) is a membrane-bound CX3C chemokine induced by primary proinflammatory signals in vascular endothelial cells (ECs). Here we examined the role of FKN in polarized Th1 or Th2 responses. Proinflammatory signals, including LPS, IL-1, TNF, and CD40 ligand, induced FKN, as did IFN-gamma, which had synergistic activity with TNF. IL-4 and IL-13 did not stimulate the expression of FKN and markedly reduced induction by TNF and IFN-gamma. TNF alone or combined with IFN-gamma also induced release of soluble FKN, which was inhibited by IL-4 and IL-13. In light of this differential regulation of FKN by the master cytokines that control polarized responses, we analyzed the interaction of FKN with natural killer (NK) cells and polarized T-cell populations. NK cells expressed high levels of the FKN receptor CX3CR1 and responded to FKN. CX3CR1 was preferentially expressed in Th1 compared with Th2 cells. Th1 but not Th2 cells responded to FKN. By immunohistochemistry, FKN was expressed on ECs in psoriasis, a Th1-dominated skin disorder, but not in Th2-driven atopic dermatitis. Similarly, ECs in Mycobacterium tuberculosis granulomatous lymphadenitis, but not those in reactive lymph node hyperplasia or in Castelman's disease, showed immunoreactive FKN. These results indicate that regulated expression of FKN in ECs participates in an amplification circuit of polarized type I responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • CD40 Ligand / metabolism
  • CX3C Chemokine Receptor 1
  • Castleman Disease / immunology
  • Chemokine CX3CL1
  • Chemokines, CX3C / biosynthesis*
  • Chemotaxis, Leukocyte
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / immunology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects
  • Endothelium, Vascular / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism
  • Interleukin-13 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-4 / metabolism
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology*
  • Lymphadenitis / immunology
  • Membrane Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Psoriasis / immunology
  • Receptors, Cytokine / metabolism
  • Receptors, HIV / metabolism
  • Th1 Cells / immunology*
  • Th2 Cells / immunology


  • CX3C Chemokine Receptor 1
  • CX3CL1 protein, human
  • Chemokine CX3CL1
  • Chemokines, CX3C
  • Interleukin-13
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Receptors, Cytokine
  • Receptors, HIV
  • CD40 Ligand
  • Interleukin-4
  • Interferon-gamma