CXCR4/CXCR7 Molecular Involvement in Neuronal and Neural Progenitor Migration: Focus in CNS Repair

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In the adult brain, neural progenitor cells (NPCs) reside in the subventricular zone (SVZ) of the lateral ventricles, the dentate gyrus and the olfactory bulb. Following CNS insult, NPCs from the SVZ can migrate along the rostral migratory stream (RMS), a migration of NPCs that is directed by proinflammatory cytokines. Cells expressing CXCR4 follow a homing signal that ultimately leads to neuronal integration and CNS repair, although such molecules can also promote NPC quiescence. The ligand, SDF1 alpha (or CXCL12) is one of the chemokines secreted at sites of injury that it is known to attract NSC-derived neuroblasts, cells that express CXCR4. In function of its concentration, CXCL12 can induce different responses, promoting NPC migration at low concentrations while favoring cell adhesion via EGF and the alpha 6 integrin at high CXCL12 concentrations. However, the preclinical effectiveness of chemokines and their relationship with NPC mobilization requires further study, particularly with respect to CNS repair. NPC migration may also be affected by the release of cytokines or chemokines induced by local inflammation, through autocrine or paracrine mechanisms, as well as through erythropoietin (EPO) or nitric oxide (NO) release. CXCL12 activity requires G-coupled proteins and the availability of its ligand may be modulated by its binding to CXCR7, for which it shows a stronger affinity than for CXCR4.
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