Role of chemokines in CNS health and pathology: a focus on the CCL2/CCR2 and CXCL8/CXCR2 networks

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2010 Mar;30(3):459-73. doi: 10.1038/jcbfm.2009.240. Epub 2009 Nov 11.


Chemokines and their receptors have crucial roles in the trafficking of leukocytes, and are of particular interest in the context of the unique immune responses elicited in the central nervous system (CNS). The chemokine system CC ligand 2 (CCL2) with its receptor CC receptor 2 (CCR2), as well as the receptor CXCR2 and its multiple ligands CXCL1, CXCL2 and CXCL8, have been implicated in a wide range of neuropathologies, including trauma, ischemic injury and multiple sclerosis. This review aims to overview the current understanding of chemokines as mediators of leukocyte migration into the CNS under neuroinflammatory conditions. We will specifically focus on the involvement of two chemokine networks, namely CCL2/CCR2 and CXCL8/CXCR2, in promoting macrophage and neutrophil infiltration, respectively, into the lesioned parenchyma after focal traumatic brain injury. The constitutive brain expression of these chemokines and their receptors, including their recently identified roles in the modulation of neuroprotection, neurogenesis, and neurotransmission, will be discussed. In conclusion, the value of evidence obtained from the use of Ccl2- and Cxcr2-deficient mice will be reported, in the context of potential therapeutics inhibiting chemokine activity which are currently in clinical trial for various inflammatory diseases.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / physiology
  • Central Nervous System / pathology*
  • Central Nervous System / physiology*
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / pathology
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Chemokine CCL2 / physiology*
  • Chemokines / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-8 / physiology*
  • Macrophages / physiology
  • Mice
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Receptors, CCR2 / physiology*
  • Receptors, Interleukin-8B / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology


  • Chemokine CCL2
  • Chemokines
  • Interleukin-8
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Receptors, CCR2
  • Receptors, Interleukin-8B