The chemokine RANTES (regulated on activation, normal T cell expressed and secreted) is a potent regulator of leukocyte trafficking. RANTES preferentially attracts mature CD4 cells as well as macrophages and eosinophils, but not neutrophils. In total, 128 children with meningococcal disease were prospectively studied, and the role of RANTES in the pathophysiology of meningococcal disease was assessed. Plasma RANTES, interleukin (IL)-8, IL-6, IL-1 receptor agonist, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha were measured at admission. Severity of disease was stratified by the Glasgow meningococcal septicemia prognostic score (GMSPS). RANTES levels correlated significantly with IL-8 levels, admission lactate levels, platelets, prothrombin time, and activated partial thromboplastin time. RANTES levels were lower in children with severe disease (GMSPS>/=8; P=.001), in those with septic shock (P<.0005), and in nonsurvivors (P=.048; Mann-Whitney test). RANTES is a potential mediator in the pathophysiology of meningococcal disease.