Chemokines and chemokine receptors play a crucial role in the trafficking of leukocyte populations across the body, and are involved in the development of a large variety of human diseases. CCR5 is the main coreceptor used by macrophage (M)-tropic strains of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and HIV-2, which are responsible for viral transmission. CCR5 therefore plays an essential role in HIV pathogenesis. A number of inflammatory CC-chemokines, including MIP-1 alpha, MIP-1 beta, RANTES, MCP-2, and HCC-1[9-74] act as CCR5 agonists, while MCP-3 is a natural antagonist of the receptor. CCR5 is mainly expressed in memory T-cells, macrophages, and immature dendritic cells, and is upregulated by proinflammatory cytokines. It is coupled to the Gi class of heterotrimeric G-proteins, and inhibits cAMP production, stimulates Ca2+ release, and activates PI3-kinase and MAP kinases, as well as other tyrosine kinase cascades. A mutant allele of CCR5, CCR5 delta 32 is frequent in populations of European origin, and encodes a nonfunctional truncated protein that is not transported to the cell surface. Homozygotes for the delta 32 allele exhibit a strong, although incomplete, resistance to HIV infection, whereas heterozygotes display delayed progression to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Many other alleles, affecting the primary structure of CCR5 or its promoter have been described, some of which lead to nonfunctional receptors or otherwise influence AIDS progression. CCR5 is considered as a drug target in the field of HIV, but also in a growing number of inflammatory diseases. Modified chemokines, monoclonal antibodies and small chemical antagonists, as well as a number of gene therapy approaches have been developed in this frame.