Chemokines and chemokine receptors establish a complex network modulating immune cell migration and localization. These molecules were also suggested to mediate the differentiation of leukocytes; however, their intrinsic, direct regulation of lymphocyte fate remained unclear. CCR2 is the main chemokine receptor inducing macrophage and monocyte recruitment to sites of inflammation, and it is also expressed on T cells. To assess whether CCR2 directly regulates T cell responses, we followed the fates of CCR2-/- T cells in T cell-specific inflammatory models. Our in vitro and in vivo results show that CCR2 intrinsically mediates the expression of inflammatory T cell cytokines, and its absence on T cells results in attenuated colitis progression. Moreover, CCR2 deficiency in T cells promoted a program inducing the accumulation of Foxp3+ regulatory T cells, while decreasing the levels of Th17 cells in vivo, indicating that CCR2 regulates the immune response by modulating the effector/regulatory T ratio.
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