Chemokines: role in inflammation and immune surveillance

Ann Rheum Dis. 2004 Nov;63 Suppl 2(Suppl 2):ii84-ii89. doi: 10.1136/ard.2004.028316.


Chemotactic migration of leucocytes largely depends on adhesive interaction with the substratum and recognition of a chemoattractant gradient. Both aspects, cell adhesion and chemotaxis, are regulated by members of the family of chemotactic cytokines (chemokines) comprising structurally related and secreted proteins of 67-127 amino acids in length. Breakdown in the control of leucocyte mobilisation contributes to chronic inflammatory diseases and, hence, interference with chemokine function is a promising approach for the development of novel anti-inflammatory medication. Chemokines target all types of leucocyte, including haematopoietic precursors, mature leucocytes of the innate immune system as well as naive, memory, and effector lymphocytes. The combinatorial diversity in responsiveness to chemokines ensures proper tissue distribution of distinct leucocyte subsets under normal and inflammatory/pathological conditions. Here, we discuss recent views on the role of chemokines in controlling tissue localisation of human memory T cells under steady state (non-inflamed) conditions. Emphasis is placed on a concept describing distinct subsets of memory T cells according to their primary residence in peripheral blood, secondary lymphoid tissues, or peripheral (extralymphoid) tissues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chemokines / immunology*
  • Chemotaxis, Leukocyte / immunology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Receptors, Chemokine / immunology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology


  • Chemokines
  • Receptors, Chemokine