Eotaxin (CCL11) is an eosinophil-specific chemoattractant which has been found to be highly expressed at sites of vascular pathology. In the present study, we aimed to evaluate the association of plasma eotaxin levels with the presence and extent of angiographic coronary artery disease (CAD). Three hundred and fifty six consecutive patients attending for elective coronary angiography were investigated. Compared with 111 patients without CAD, 245 with CAD showed higher eotaxin concentrations [median (interquartile range): 76.0 (56.3-103.0)pg/ml versus 116.0 (80.5-162.0)pg/ml, respectively; P<0.001]. Importantly, a significant Spearman correlation was found between eotaxin levels and the extent score of coronary artery stenosis (r=0.449, P<0.001). A stepwise increase in plasma levels of eotaxin was also found depending on the number of >50% coronary stenosis: median value 76.0 pg/ml in CAD(-) subjects, 96.0 pg/ml in 1-vessel disease, 128.0 pg/ml in 2-vessel disease, and 129.0 pg/ml in 3-vessel disease (P<0.001 for trend). After confounding variables were controlled for, multiple stepwise regression analysis demonstrated that plasma eotaxin was an independent predictor of angiographic extent of CAD (beta=0.426, P<0.001). Our data suggest that increased eotaxin levels are associated with the presence of CAD and that circulating levels of this chemokine may reflect the extent of coronary atherosclerosis.