There is growing evidence that chemokines play important roles in the immune surveillance of central nervous system (CNS). In the CNS, microglia are primary immune effector cells and secrete various chemokines in response to their microenvironment. Using the RT-PCR procedure and indirect immunofluorescence analysis, we found that CCL6 (known as C10/MRP-1 in mouse) was expressed in rat primary microglia without any stimulation, but not in primary astrocytes, although both cell types expressed CCR1 mRNA, which is a receptor for CCL6. Furthermore, immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated that microglia produced CCL6 protein in a normal brain, suggesting that microglia may be the primary source of CCL6 in a normal brain. Recombinant rat CCL6 mediated the migration of microglia and astrocytes in vitro. The CCL6-mediated cell migration was blocked by treating the cells with LY294002, a PI3-kinase inhibitor and Western blot analysis showed that the phosphorylation of Akt could be induced by treating microglia with a recombinant CCL6, suggesting that CCL6 functions by activating the PI3-kinase/Akt pathway. A proinflammatory cytokine, interferon-gamma enhanced the expression of both CCL6 mRNA and protein in microglia, while other proinflammatory cytokines, interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha and an anti-inflammatory cytokine, transforming growth factor-beta exerted no effect on CCL6 expression in microglia. These findings suggest that CCL6 may be a mediator released by microglia for cell-cell communication under physiological as well as pathological conditions of CNS.