Inflammation of the portal and periportal areas is a common feature of chronic hepatitis C. Antigen-presenting dendritic cells are located in the portal area, and infiltrating T cells are initially exposed to infected hepatocytes in the periportal area. Thus, these areas could be sites of the initial processes of the immune response in chronic hepatitis C. C-C chemokines (dendritic-cell-derived C-C chemokine [DC-CK1] and regulated upon activation, normal T-cell expressed and secreted [RANTES])-attracting T cells may play a role in the portal inflammatory changes. The relationship between the expression of these C-C chemokines, which attract T cells and the infiltration of T cells into the liver of patients with chronic hepatitis C, was examined by in situ hybridization and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. T-cell activation was examined by immunostaining T-cell subsets. Specific signals were detected for DC-CK1 mRNA in mononuclear cells mainly in the portal area and for RANTES mRNA in the portal area and at sites of piecemeal necrosis in the liver of patients with chronic hepatitis C. Naive T cells were located mainly in the portal area, whereas active T cells were found mainly at sites of piecemeal necrosis in the periportal area. In addition, hepatic DC-CK1- and RANTES-mRNA levels were significantly correlated with serum alanine aminotransferase levels (p < 0.001). These results suggest that the local production of DC-CK1 and RANTES participates in immune responses by attracting naive and active T cells to the portal and periportal areas, respectively.