Functional role of chemokines in liver disease models

Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2010 Dec;7(12):682-90. doi: 10.1038/nrgastro.2010.168. Epub 2010 Oct 26.


Chemokines are a class of small cytokine-like molecules that orchestrate immune cell infiltration into the liver in response to acute and chronic injuries. Apart from their chemotactic effect, however, chemokines seem to mediate many other aspects of liver diseases, including a direct activation of stellate cells, the modulation of hepatocyte proliferation and angiogenesis. The identification of specific biological functions for chemokines in liver diseases has been hampered by the finding that resident and infiltrating cells in the liver are often a source, as well as a target, of chemokines. Furthermore, chemokines might cause differing effects depending on the etiology of liver damage, their local concentrations and their ability to form multimers and heterodimers. Nevertheless, the functions of a number of important chemokines and their associated receptors have been identified in both in vivo and in vitro studies. Indeed, harmful (proinflammatory, profibrogenic) and beneficial (antifibrogenic, antiangiogenic) effects of chemokines have been discovered in experimental liver disease models. In this Review, the current knowledge of chemokines in experimental liver disease models is summarized. Advances that might lead to preclinical applications are discussed, as are the roles of chemokine receptors as promising pharmacologically targetable molecules.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chemokines / immunology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Liver / immunology*
  • Liver Diseases / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains


  • Chemokines