Cellular localization of fractalkine at sites of inflammation: Antigen-presenting cells in psoriasis express high levels of fractalkine

Siba P Raychaudhuri, W. Y. Jiang, Eugene M. Farber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Background: Chemokines play a key role in cell trafficking at sites of inflammation. The fractalkine CX3C chemokine is unique in several aspects. Fractalkine is expressed on activated endothelial cells and exists in two forms, either membrane anchored or in a soluble form. The soluble form is a potent chemotactic agent for T cells/monocytes and the anchored form functions as an adhesion molecule. In view of these specific functions fractalkine is capable of controlling the key regulatory mechanisms of cell trafficking at sites of inflammation. Objectives: Little is known about the significance of this important molecule in inflammatory diseases. We undertook this study to elucidate the role of fractalkine in inflammatory diseases of the skin. Methods: We used a polyclonal antifractalkine antibody (immunoperoxidase and immunofluorescence stainings) in cryosections obtained from tissues of normal skin and that of selected cutaneous inflammatory diseases (psoriasis, lichen planus, eczema). Results: Increased expression of fractalkine was observed in the dermal blood vessels of lichen planus, eczema and psoriasis tissues. The most striking finding was that the dermal dendrocytes in the papillary dermis of psoriasis tissues expressed high levels of fractalkine. Compared with 186.64 ± 51.69 fractalkine positive dermal dendrocytes per mm2 of the upper dermis of psoriatic tissue, the number of positive cells in lichen planus, eczema, and normal skin were 17.29 ± 12.50, 12.50 ± 6.75 and 5.93 ± 3.53, respectively. We also performed double label immunofluorescence staining with nerve growth factor receptor (NGF-R) antibody and fractalkine antibody. NGF-R-positive terminal cutaneous nerves were in close contact with the fractalkine-positive dermal dendrocytes in psoriatic lesions. Conclusions: The results of this study confirm that fractalkine is upregulated at sites of inflammation. Thus, it is likely that this molecule plays a key part in cell trafficking. An increased expression of fractalkine at the dermal papillae provides a plausible explanation for the migration and accumulation of T cells at these sites in psoriasis. Earlier studies have reported an increased number of dermal dendrocytes in psoriatic tissue; however, the functional role of these cells in the pathogenesis of psoriasis is largely unknown. Expression of fractalkine on the surface of dermal dendrocytes suggests an active role for these cells in localization and activation of lesional T cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1105-1113
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Dermatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell trafficking
  • Cutaneous inflammation
  • Fractalkine
  • Psoriasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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