Research NewsImmunology

Chemokines Take Center Stage in Inflammatory Ills

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Science  17 May 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5264, pp. 954
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5264.954


The proteins known as chemokines achieved public fame late last year, as a result of work suggesting that they might help protect against AIDS. But the proteins have a much wider role than that. As magnets for white blood cells, they play a key role in in flammatory responses and thus in the body's defenses against a wide array of invading pathogens. What's more, chemokine effects can also backfire, and contribute to a wide range of inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and adult res piratory distress syndrome, a major killer characterized by fluid buildup in the lungs. As a result, the chemokines have become major targets of efforts to develop new anti-inflammatory therapies, and recent work is already producing some promising results.