Cytokines are a family of secreted proteins involved in immunoregulatory and inflammatory processes. The gene encoding MCP-4/CCL13 is one of several Cys-Cys (CC) cytokine genes clustered on the q-arm of chromosome 17. The CC cytokines are proteins characterized by two adjacent cysteines. The cytokine encoded by this gene displays chemotactic activity for monocytes, lymphocytes, basophils and eosinophils, but not neutrophils. MCP-4/CCL13 signals through CCR2B and CCR3 receptors, and plays a role in the accumulation of leukocytes at both sides of allergic and non-allergic inflammation. It be also involved in the recruitment of monocytes into the arterial wall during the disease process of atherosclerosis, and may also play a role in monocyte attraction in tissues chronically exposed to exogenous pathogens.
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