Recruitment of CCR6-expressing Th17 cells by CCL20 secreted from plasmin-stimulated macrophages

Acta Biochim Biophys Sin (Shanghai). 2013 Jul;45(7):593-600. doi: 10.1093/abbs/gmt049. Epub 2013 May 16.


In the present study, monocyte-derived human macrophages were differentiated from buffy coats. Naïve CD4⁺ T-cells enriched from peripheral blood mononuclear cells using anti-CD4 magnetic beads and the autoMACS separation system were polarized under T-helper 17 (Th17)-promoting conditions for 6 days to get Th17 cells. The frequency of Th17 cell differentiation and the expression of C-C chemokine receptor type 6 (CCR6) on Th17 cells were investigated by flow cytometry. Plasmin-triggered induction of macrophage inflammatory protein-3alpha/C-C chemokine ligand 20 (CCL20) genes in macrophages was assessed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, and secreted protein levels were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Th17 cell migration induced by CCL20 secreted from plasmin-stimulated macrophages was tested in vitro by chemotaxis using a transwell system. These results demonstrate that plasmin triggers the expression of chemokine CCL20 messenger RNA and the release of CCL20 protein in human monocyte-derived macrophages, which critically depend on the proteolytic activity of plasmin and activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase and nuclear factor-kappaB signaling pathways. Expression of CCR6 was detected on 87.23 ± 8.6% of Th17 cells in vitro. Similar to chemotaxis triggered by recombinant human CCL20, supernatants collected from plasmin-stimulated macrophage-induced chemotactic migration of Th17 cells, which could be inhibited by an anti-CCL20 neutralizing antibody. These results suggest that plasmin generated in inflamed tissues might elicit production of chemokine CCL20 by human macrophages leading to the recruitment of CCR6 positive Th17 cells to the inflammatory sites.

Keywords: CCL20; CCR6; Th17; macrophages; plasmin; signaling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chemokine CCL20 / metabolism*
  • Fibrinolysin / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / drug effects*
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Receptors, CCR6 / metabolism*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Th17 Cells / metabolism*
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism


  • CCL20 protein, human
  • CCR6 protein, human
  • Chemokine CCL20
  • NF-kappa B
  • Receptors, CCR6
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Fibrinolysin