Idiopathic pneumonia syndrome (IPS) is a major complication after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (allo-BMT) and involves the infiltration of donor leukocytes and the secretion of inflammatory cytokines. We hypothesized that leukocyte recruitment during IPS is dependent in part upon interactions between chemokine receptor 2 (CCR2) and its primary ligand monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1). To test this hypothesis, IPS was induced in a lethally irradiated parent --> F1 mouse BMT model. Compared with syngeneic controls, pulmonary expression of MCP-1 and CCR2 mRNA was significantly increased after allo-BMT. Transplantation of CCR2-deficient (CCR2-/-) donor cells resulted in a significant reduction in IPS severity compared with transplantation of wild-type (CCR2+/+) cells and in reduced bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid cellularity and BAL fluid levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and soluble p55 TNF receptor (sTNFRI). In addition, neutralization of MCP-1 resulted in significantly decreased lung injury compared with control-treated allogeneic recipients. Experimental data correlated with preliminary clinical findings; patients with IPS have elevated levels of MCP-1 in the BAL fluid at the time of diagnosis. Collectively, these data demonstrate that CCR2/MCP-1 interactions significantly contribute to the development of experimental IPS and suggest that interventions blocking these receptor-ligand interactions may represent novel strategies to prevent or treat this lethal complication after allo-BMT.