Lymphocyte infiltration to pancreatic islets is associated to chemoattraction, as are other inflammatory autoimmune processes. We examined whether development of insulitis and diabetes depends on chemoattraction of lymphocytes via the CCR5 chemokine receptor. In non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice, a substantial fraction of peripheral T cells and virtually all B cells expressed high CCR5 levels. CCR5 expression characterized the effector T cell phenotype, suggesting their potential involvement in disease development. In view of these findings and the CCL5 (RANTES, the CCR5 ligand) expression by pancreatic islets, we treated NOD mice with a neutralizing anti-CCR5 antibody. This did not influence peri-insulitis advancement, but inhibited beta-cell destruction and diabetes. These data demonstrate a role of CCR5-dependent chemoattraction in insulitis progression to islet destruction, suggesting the potential value of therapeutic intervention by CCR5 targeting.