MCP-1, MCP-2 and MCP-3 expression in multiple sclerosis lesions: an immunohistochemical and in situ hybridization study

J Neuroimmunol. 1998 Jun 1;86(1):20-9. doi: 10.1016/s0165-5728(98)00002-2.


Chemokines are low molecular weight chemotactic cytokines that have been shown to play a central role in the perivascular transmigration and accumulation of specific subsets of leukocytes at sites of tissue damage. Two major families have been defined depending on the positioning of four conserved cysteines. The CXC chemokines predominantly attract neutrophils, whereas the CC chemokines predominantly attract monocytes and other leukocyte cell types. Members of the monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP)-1 family form a major component of the CC family of chemokines and are considered the principal chemokines involved in the recruitment of monocytes/macrophages and activated lymphocytes. In this study we addressed the expression and distribution of MCP-1, -2 and -3 in multiple sclerosis (MS) lesions of differing ages and levels of inflammatory activity using immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization. In acute and chronic-active MS lesions immunoreactivity for MCP-1, -2 and -3 was prominent throughout the lesion center with reactivity diminishing abruptly at the lesion edge. Hypertrophic astrocytes were strongly reactive and inflammatory cells showed variable reactivity. Outside of the lesion only hypertrophic astrocytes were reactive. The results obtained by in situ hybridization for MCP-1 were in agreement with those obtained by immunostaining. In more chronic lesions immunoreactivity for MCP-1, -2 and -3 was considerably diminished, and in chronic-silent lesions immunoreactivity was restricted to a few scattered reactive astrocytes. Normal control brains showed no immunoreactivity for MCP-1, -2 and -3. Although the cellular distribution of all three members of this family was similar, antibodies to MCP-3 gave prominent staining of the extracellular matrix that was not noted for MCP-1 and -2. These results support the conclusion that members of the MCP family of chemokines are involved in the development of MS lesions in the central nervous system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Astrocytes / chemistry
  • Brain Chemistry / immunology
  • Chemokine CCL2 / analysis
  • Chemokine CCL2 / genetics*
  • Chemokine CCL7
  • Chemokine CCL8
  • Cytokines*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Macrophages / chemistry
  • Male
  • Meninges / chemistry
  • Middle Aged
  • Monocyte Chemoattractant Proteins / analysis
  • Monocyte Chemoattractant Proteins / genetics*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / genetics*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / immunology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis


  • CCL7 protein, human
  • CCL8 protein, human
  • Chemokine CCL2
  • Chemokine CCL7
  • Chemokine CCL8
  • Cytokines
  • Monocyte Chemoattractant Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger