To determine which chemokine receptors might be involved in T lymphocyte localization to the intestinal mucosa, we examined receptor expression on human intestinal lamina propria lymphocytes (LPL), intraepithelial lymphocytes (IEL) and CD45RO+beta7hi gut homing peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL). Virtually all LPL and IEL expressed CXCR3 and CCR5, receptors that have been associated with Th1(Tc1)/Th0 lymphocytes, while CCR3 and CCR4, receptors associated with Th2 (Tc2)lymphocytes, CCR7, CXCR1 and CXCR2 were not expressed. CXCR3 and CCR5 receptors were functional, as LPL and IEL migrated to their respective ligands I-TAC and RANTES. In addition, most alphaEbeta7- LPL and IEL expressed high levels of CCR2. While the majority of CD45RO(-)beta7hi PBL also expressed CXCR3 and CCR5, a proportion of these cells were CXCR3- and/or CCR5- and some expressed CCR4 and/or CCR7, indicating that lymphocytes recruited to the intestinal mucosa represent a subset of these cells. In summary, our results show that LPL and IEL within the normal intestine express a specific and similar array of chemokine receptors whose ligands are constitutively expressed in the intestinal mucosa and whose expression is up-regulated during intestinal inflammation. These results support the view that CXCR3, CCR5 and CCR2 may play an important role in lymphocyte localization within the intestinal mucosa.