The chemokine decoy receptor D6 is a promiscuous chemokine receptor lacking classical signaling functions. It negatively regulates inflammation by targeting CC chemokines to cellular internalization and degradation. Here we analyze the function of D6 in acute CCl4-induced liver damage in constitutive D6-/- and wild-type mice. The degree of liver injury was assessed by liver histology, serum transaminases, IL-6, and TNFα mRNA expression. Protein levels of D6 ligands (CCL2, CCL3, CCL5) and the non-D6-ligand CXCL9 within the livers were determined by ELISAs. The intrahepatic infiltration of immune cells was characterized by FACS. Genetic deletion of D6 led to prolonged liver damage after acute CCl4 administration. The augmented liver damage in D6-/- mice was associated with increased protein levels of intrahepatic inflammatory chemokines CCL2, CCL3, and CCL5 after 48 h, whereas CXCL9 was not different between knockout and wild-type mice. Functionally, increased intra-hepatic CC chemokine concentrations led to increased infiltration of CD45+ leukocytes, which were mainly identified as T and NK cells. In conclusion, the chemokine scavenger receptor D6 has a non-redundant role in acute toxic liver injury in vivo. These results support the importance of post-translational chemokine regulation and describe a new mechanism of immune modulation within the liver.
©2009 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin New York