Chemokines, originally discovered as mediators of directional migration of immune cells to sites of inflammation and injury, have a function beyond their role in leukocyte chemotaxis. Indeed, they participate in organ development, angiogenesis, tumourigenesis and, more importantly, in the immune response. The chemokine family characterized by four highly conserved cysteine amino acid residues, with two cysteine residues (C) and a non-cysteine amino acid (X) between them (CXC), is known for its ability to promote trafficking of various leukocytes and to regulate angiogenesis and vascular remodelling. Intriguingly, the presence or absence of a structural-functional domain constituted by glutamic acid-leucine-arginine motif that precedes the first cysteine amino acid residue accounts for their unique property to induce or inhibit angiogenesis (angiogenic or angiostatic activity). The ability of CXC chemokine receptor 3 to promote Th1-dependent immunity and, at the same time, inhibit angiogenesis (immunoangiostasis) is of critical importance for inducing tumour regression. Agents that are able to inhibit angiogenic activities or promote angiostatic activities of CXC chemokines are future targets for research on cancer treatment. Here, we review insights on CXC chemokines in the context of immunoangiostasis and vascular damage.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine