Hypoxia is an important factor in the pathophysiology of vascular and inflammatory diseases. Leucocyte infiltration, as a consequence of adhesion molecule up-regulation and chemokine release, is a prominent feature of these diseases. The objective of our study was to investigate the potential role of resident fibroblasts in hypoxia-induced chemotactic responses. We show that MCP-1 and IL-8 mRNA are specifically induced by hypoxia in dermal fibroblasts. This response is paralleled by increased NF-kappaB p65/p50 binding activity, and it is inhibited by pretreatment with N-acetyl-L-cysteine. MCP-1 secreted by fibroblasts is chemotactic for monocytic cells and this activity is significantly increased by hypoxia. Chemotactic index correlates with MCP-1 protein levels and is significantly decreased by neutralizing anti-MCP-1 MoAb. These findings demonstrate the ability of resident fibroblasts to mediate chemotaxis of leucocytes through the release of chemokines in response to hypoxia. Our data point to MCP-1 as an important component in this response, and therefore it may be a potential target in inflammatory responses associated with hypoxia.