The atypical chemokine receptor ACKR2 suppresses Th17 responses to protein autoantigens

Immunol Cell Biol. 2015 Feb;93(2):167-76. doi: 10.1038/icb.2014.90. Epub 2014 Oct 28.


Chemokine-directed leukocyte migration is a critical component of all innate and adaptive immune responses. The atypical chemokine receptor ACKR2 is expressed by lymphatic endothelial cells and scavenges pro-inflammatory CC chemokines to indirectly subdue leukocyte migration. This contributes to the resolution of acute inflammatory responses in vivo. ACKR2 is also universally expressed by innate-like B cells, suppressing their responsiveness to the non-ACKR2 ligand CXCL13, and controlling their distribution in vivo. The role of ACKR2 in autoimmunity remains relatively unexplored, although Ackr2 deficiency reportedly lessens the clinical symptoms of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis induced by immunization with encephalogenic peptide (MOG(35-55)). This was attributed to poor T-cell priming stemming from the defective departure of dendritic cells from the site of immunization. However, we report here that Ackr2-deficient mice, on two separate genetic backgrounds, are not less susceptible to autoimmunity induced by immunization, and in some cases develop enhanced clinical symptoms. Moreover, ACKR2 deficiency does not suppress T-cell priming in response to encephalogenic peptide (MOG(35-55)), and responses to protein antigen (collagen or MOG(1-125)) are characterized by elevated interleukin-17 production. Interestingly, after immunization with protein, but not peptide, antigen, Ackr2 deficiency was also associated with an increase in lymph node B cells expressing granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), a cytokine that enhances T helper type 17 (Th17) cell development and survival. Thus, Ackr2 deficiency does not suppress autoreactive T-cell priming and autoimmune pathology, but can enhance T-cell polarization toward Th17 cells and increase the abundance of GM-CSF(+) B cells in lymph nodes draining the site of immunization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / immunology
  • Arthritis, Experimental / immunology
  • Arthritis, Experimental / pathology
  • Autoantigens / immunology*
  • Collagen / immunology*
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / immunology
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor
  • Immunity
  • Immunization
  • Interleukin-17 / biosynthesis
  • Joints / immunology
  • Joints / pathology
  • Lymph Nodes / metabolism
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Myelin-Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein / immunology*
  • Peptide Fragments / immunology
  • Receptors, Chemokine / deficiency
  • Receptors, Chemokine / metabolism*
  • Th17 Cells / immunology*
  • Up-Regulation


  • Ackr2 protein, mouse
  • Antibodies
  • Autoantigens
  • Interleukin-17
  • Myelin-Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Receptors, Chemokine
  • myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (35-55)
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor
  • Collagen