Numerous chemokine receptors are increased in number on T cells in inflamed tissues. Our objective was to examine CXCR6 expression on lymphocytes during immune and inflammatory reactions and its potential for mediating T-cell recruitment. The cDNA for rat CXCR6 was cloned and monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to CXCR6 were developed. CXCR6 was present on 4-6% of CD4 and CD8 T cells in blood, normal lymph nodes (LNs) and the spleen, primarily on memory T cells. In vitro antigen re-stimulation of LN T cells from animals with autoimmune arthritis and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) increased the proportion of CXCR6(+) T cells to 35-50% and anti-T-cell receptor (TCR) activation to 60-80%. In vivo, after antigen challenge of LNs there was only a small increase in CXCR6(+) T cells on the lymphoblasts in the LNs, and a much higher percentage of T cells were CXCR6(+) in virus-induced peritoneal exudates (approximately 47%) and in allergen-induced lung inflammation (33%). Chemotaxis of CXCR6-expressing inflammatory T cells to CXCL16 was poor, but that to CXCL10 was robust. We conclude that few T cells in normal and antigen-challenged LNs are CXCR6(+), whereas a high proportion of in vitro activated T cells and T cells from inflammatory sites are CXCR6(+), but these cells migrate poorly to CXCL16. This suggests that CXCR6 may contribute to T-cell positioning and activation, rather than recruitment. CXCR6 is also expressed on T cells not only in T helper type 1 (Th1) inflammation (arthritis and EAE) but also, as shown here, in Th2 inflammation, where it is increased after allergen challenge.