CCR7 and its ligands: balancing immunity and tolerance

Nat Rev Immunol. 2008 May;8(5):362-71. doi: 10.1038/nri2297.


A key feature of the immune system is its ability to induce protective immunity against pathogens while maintaining tolerance towards self and innocuous environmental antigens. Recent evidence suggests that by guiding cells to and within lymphoid organs, CC-chemokine receptor 7 (CCR7) essentially contributes to both immunity and tolerance. This receptor is involved in organizing thymic architecture and function, lymph-node homing of naive and regulatory T cells via high endothelial venules, as well as steady state and inflammation-induced lymph-node-bound migration of dendritic cells via afferent lymphatics. Here, we focus on the cellular and molecular mechanisms that enable CCR7 and its two ligands, CCL19 and CCL21, to balance immunity and tolerance.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmunity / immunology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Movement
  • Chemokine CCL19 / immunology*
  • Chemokine CCL21 / immunology*
  • Dendritic Cells / physiology
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology
  • Lymph Nodes / metabolism
  • Receptors, CCR7 / immunology*
  • Receptors, CCR7 / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / physiology
  • Thymus Gland / immunology


  • Chemokine CCL19
  • Chemokine CCL21
  • Receptors, CCR7