Chemokine receptor antagonists: a novel therapeutic approach in allergic diseases


Jörn Elsner, MD
Department of Dermatology and Allergology
Hannover Medical School
Ricklinger Str. 5
D-30449 Hannover


The aim of this review is to give an overview of the role of chemokines, particularly ligands of the CC chemokine receptor CCR3, in allergic diseases and to show the new concept in the treatment of allergies using chemokine receptor antagonists. Allergic diseases such as allergic asthma, allergic rhinitis and atopic dermatitis are characterized by a complex interaction of different cell types and mediators. Among this, Th2 cells, mast cells, basophils and eosinophils are found in the inflamed tissue due to the attraction of chemokines. Of all the known chemokine receptors, the chemokine receptor CCR3 seems to play the major role in allergic diseases which is supported by the detection of this receptor on the cell types mentioned above. Therefore, academic and industrial research focus on compounds to block this receptor. To date, certain chemokine receptor antagonists derived from peptides and small molecules exist to block the chemokine receptor CCR3. However, the in vivo data about these compounds and the mechanisms of receptor interaction are poorly understood, as yet. For the development of additional chemokine receptor antagonists, more details about the interaction between the ligands and their receptors are required. Therefore, additional studies will lead to the identification of novel CCR3 chemokine receptor antagonists, which can be therapeutically used in allergic asthma, allergic rhinitis, and atopic dermatitis.