The chemokine stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1) regulates neuronal development via the chemokine receptor CXCR4. In the adult brain the SDF-1/CXCR4 system was implicated in neurogenesis, neuromodulation, brain inflammation, tumor growth, and HIV encephalopathy. Until the recent identification of RDC1/CXCR7 as the second SDF-1 receptor, CXCR4 was considered to be the only receptor for SDF-1. Here we provide the first map of CXCR7 mRNA expression in the embryonic and adult rat brain. At embryonic stages, CXCR7 and CXCR4 were codistributed in the germinative zone of the ganglionic eminences, caudate putamen, and along the routes of GABAergic precursors migrating toward the cortex. In the cortex, CXCR7 was identified in GABAergic precursors and in some reelin-expressing Cajal-Retzius cells. Unlike CXCR4, CXCR7 was abundant in neurons forming the cortical plate and sparse in the developing dentate gyrus and cerebellar external germinal layer. In the adult brain, CXCR7 was expressed by blood vessels, pyramidal cells in CA3, and mature dentate gyrus granule cells, which is reminiscent of the SDF-1 pattern. CXCR7 and CXCR4 overlapped in the wall of the four ventricles. Further neuronal structures expressing CXCR7 comprised the olfactory bulb, accumbens shell, supraoptic and ventromedial hypothalamic nuclei, medial thalamus, and brain stem motor nuclei. Also, GLAST-expressing astrocytes showed signals for CXCR7. Thus, CXCR4 and CXCR7 may cooperate or act independently in SDF-1-dependent neuronal development. In mature neurons and blood vessels CXCR7 appears to be the preponderant SDF-1-receptor.
(c) 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.