Mucosae-associated epithelial chemokine (MEC) is a novel chemokine whose mRNA is most abundant in salivary gland, with strong expression in other mucosal sites, including colon, trachea, and mammary gland. MEC is constitutively expressed by epithelial cells; MEC mRNA is detected in cultured bronchial and mammary gland epithelial cell lines and in epithelia isolated from salivary gland and colon using laser capture microdissection, but not in the endothelial, hemolymphoid, or fibroblastic cell lines tested. Although MEC is poorly expressed in skin, its closest homologue is the keratinocyte-expressed cutaneous T cell-attracting chemokine (CTACK; CCL27), and MEC supports chemotaxis of transfected lymphoid cells expressing CCR10, a known CTACK receptor. In contrast to CTACK, however, MEC also supports migration through CCR3. Consistent with this, MEC attracts eosinophils in addition to memory lymphocyte subsets. These results suggest an important role for MEC in the physiology of extracutaneous epithelial tissues, including diverse mucosal organs.
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