We have previously reported that human peritoneal mesothelial cells (HPMCs) express a large amount of dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPPIV) and that its expression is regulated by a variety of bioactive substances in malignant ascites from ovarian cancer patients. The aim of this study has been to examine the expression and role of the SDF-1alpha/CXCR4-DPPIV axis in HPMCs. We have demonstrated that the expression levels of DPPIV and E-cadherin in HPMCs decrease, following TGF-beta1-induced morphological change, in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. Additionally, we show that both SDF-1alpha (a chemokine and substrate for DPPIV) and its receptor, CXCR4, are expressed on HPMCs, and that their expression levels are upregulated by TGF-beta1 treatment, resulting in an increased migratory potential of HPMCs. Furthermore, the migratory potential of HPMCs is significantly enhanced in the presence of SDF-1alpha or DPPIV-specific inhibitor in the wound-healing assay. These results suggest that DPPIV and SDF-1alpha/CXCR4 play crucial roles in regulating the migratory potential of HPMCs, which may be involved in the re-epithelialization of denuded basement membrane at the site of peritoneal injury.