CXCL9-Derived Peptides Differentially Inhibit Neutrophil Migrationthrough Interference with Glycosaminoglycan Interactions

Vincent Vanheule, Daiane Boff, Anneleen Mortier, Rik Janssens, Björn Petri, Elzbieta Kolaczkowska, Paul Kubes, Nele Berghmans, Sofie Struyf, Andreas J Kungl, Mauro Martins Teixeira, Flavio Almeida Amaral, Paul Proost

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26 Citations (Scopus)


Several acute and chronic inflammatory diseases are driven by accumulation of activated leukocytes due to enhanced chemokine expression. In addition to specific G protein-coupled receptor-dependent signaling, chemokine-glycosaminoglycan (GAG) interactions are important for chemokine activityin vivo. Therefore, the GAG-chemokine interaction has been explored as target for inhibition of chemokine activity. It was demonstrated that CXCL9(74-103) binds with high affinity to GAGs, competed with active chemokines for GAG binding and thereby inhibited CXCL8- and monosodium urate (MSU) crystal-induced neutrophil migration to joints. To evaluate the affinity and specificity of the COOH-terminal part of CXCL9 toward different GAGs in detail, we chemically synthesized several COOH-terminal CXCL9 peptides including the shorter CXCL9(74-93). Compared to CXCL9(74-103), CXCL9(74-93) showed equally high affinity for heparin and heparan sulfate (HS), but lower affinity for binding to chondroitin sulfate (CS) and cellular GAGs. Correspondingly, both peptides competed with equal efficiency for CXCL8 binding to heparin and HS but not to cellular GAGs. In addition, differences in anti-inflammatory activity between both peptides were detectedin vivo. CXCL8-induced neutrophil migration to the peritoneal cavity and to the knee joint were inhibited with similar potency by intravenous or intraperitoneal injection of CXCL9(74-103) or CXCL9(74-93), but not by CXCL9(86-103). In contrast, neutrophil extravasation in the MSU crystal-induced gout model, in which multiple chemoattractants are induced, was not affected by CXCL9(74-93). This could be explained by (1) the lower affinity of CXCL9(74-93) for CS, the most abundant GAG in joints, and (2) by reduced competition with GAG binding of CXCL1, the most abundant ELR+CXC chemokine in this gout model. Mechanistically we showed by intravital microscopy that fluorescent CXCL9(74-103) coats the vessel wallin vivoand that CXCL9(74-103) inhibits CXCL8-induced adhesion of neutrophils to the vessel wall in the murine cremaster muscle model. Thus, both affinity and specificity of chemokines and the peptides for different GAGs and the presence of specific GAGs in different tissues will determine whether competition can occur. In summary, both CXCL9 peptides inhibited neutrophil migrationin vivothrough interference with GAG interactions in several animal models. Shortening CXCL9(74-103) from the COOH-terminus limited its GAG-binding spectrum.

Original languageEnglish
Article number530
Number of pages14
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Journal Article


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