Chemokines, small proinflammatory cytokines, are involved in migration of inflammatory cells, but also have a role in normal central nervous system development. One chemokine, growth-related oncogene-alpha (GRO-alpha) and its receptor CXCR2, are involved in proliferation and migration of oligodendrocyte progenitors in rats. Here we studied the regional and cell type-specific expression of GRO-alpha and CXCR2 in the human telencephalon at midgestation, the time that oligodendrocytes are being generated in the human brain. Our results showed that both GRO-alpha and CXCR2 are predominately expressed by oligodendrocyte progenitors and activated microglial cells in the highly proliferative subventricular zone. This cellular and regional localization suggests that GRO-alpha/CXCR2 may play a role in human oligodendrocyte proliferation and subsequent migration. We also studied the expression of GRO-alpha and CXCR2 in brain sections of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. Consistent with their role in the inflammatory process of MS, both GRO-alpha and CXCR2 were expressed in activated microglia localized on the border of MS lesions. However, neither GRO-alpha nor CXCR2 were present in early oligodendrocyte progenitors, a finding that may partially explain why remyelination is not more efficient in MS.
Copyright 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel