CysLT1, which is expressed in several cell types during inflammation and allergy, and the homing related chemokine receptor CXCR4 both belong to the family of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR). Similar to CXCR4, the cysteinyl-leukotriene receptor cysLT1 is strongly expressed in CD34+ cell lines and CD34+ hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPC). We therefore compared the effects mediated by cysLT1 on HPC to those observed after activation of CXCR4. The most potent cysLT1 ligand LTD4 induced chemotaxis and adhesion of CD34+ HPC to endothelial cells, immobilized VCAM-1 and fibronectin, which was comparable to effects induced by the CXCR4 ligand SDF-1. CysLT1- and CXCR4-mediated effects were inhibited by pertussis toxin (PTX), suggesting that both GPCRs employ the same Gi-protein-dependent signaling pathways in CD34+ HPC. This is supported by identical time courses of intracellular calcium fluxes and actin polymerization induced by LTD4 and SDF-1, as measured by time-dependent flow cytometry. Given the striking similarities of cysLT1- and CXCR4-mediated effects in vitro, one might expect also overlapping functions in vivo. We therefore investigated whether blocking of cysLT1 is associated with HPC mobilization. As cysLT1 antagonists are established for therapy and prophylaxis in patients with allergic and exercise-induced asthma, circulating CD34+ progenitors were enumerated after initiation of a treatment with the cysLT1 antagonist montelukast, used as asthma prophylaxis in otherwise healthy subjects. The number of CD34+ cells or white blood counts did not differ significantly from the baseline value 2, 4, 8, 12, and 24 hours after administration of 10 mg montelukast, in contrast to previous studies analyzing stem cell mobilization induced by CXCR4 antagonists. This corresponds with our in vitro findings that LTD4 is produced by bone marrow endothelium and stromal cells only when deprived of hematopoietic cells, in contrast to the constitutive production of SDF-1. We conclude that cysLT1 is not involved in bone marrow retention of HPC during steady-state hematopoiesis, but may modulate HPC homing when its ligands are produced either locally (i.e. bone marrow aplasia) or systemically (i.e. inflammation).

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