Purpose of review: The CXC chemokine receptor type 4 (CXCR4), which is a G-protein coupled receptor, and its ligand CXCL12 play an important role in neutrophil homeostasis and inflammation. This review focuses on involvement of the CXCL12/CXCR4 axis in inflammation and different inflammatory diseases and depicts that blocking CXCR4 is an attractive therapeutic strategy.
Recent findings: Binding of CXCL12 to CXCR4 retains immature neutrophils in the bone marrow and also participates in leukocyte recruitment into inflamed tissue. The CXCL12/CXCR4 axis is also involved in several inflammatory processes and diseases including the WHIM (warts, hypogammaglobulinemia, infections and myelokathexis) syndrome, HIV, autoimmune disorders, ischemic injury, and pulmonary fibrosis.
Summary: Based on these findings, blocking CXCR4 seems to be a therapeutic strategy in inflammatory diseases. Several promising CXCR4 antagonists are in different stages of development and clinical trials. Currently, only plerixafor (AMD3100) has been approved for short-term application.