Chemokines and chemokine receptors: standing at the crossroads of immunobiology and neurobiology

Immunity. 2009 Nov 20;31(5):711-21. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2009.09.010.


There are several molecular entities common to the immune and nervous systems. Salient among them are the chemokines and their receptors, which play remarkably varied and potent roles in immunobiology and neurobiology. This review limns several illustrative examples and presents general principles of chemokine action that are manifest in both systems. These include the following: (1) chemokines tend equally to arrest cells and to make them move, in the process of positioning target cells with spatiotemporal precision; (2) signaling and nonsignaling receptors collaborate to adjust the chemokine environment for maximal efficacy; and (3) expression of a single chemokine receptor on circulating blood cells and parenchymal cells is often used to coordinate complex tissue responses. The challenge is to integrate knowledge of the roles of key receptors (as well as their ligands) into a coherent account of events during pathologic processes, in order to guide therapeutic development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chemokines / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immune System*
  • Neurobiology*
  • Receptors, Chemokine / metabolism*


  • Chemokines
  • Receptors, Chemokine