Chemokines are implicated in developmental and inflammatory processes in the brain. The transmembrane chemokine CXCL16 is produced in brain endothelial and reactive astroglial cells and released by shedding. Its receptor CXCR6 is detected during brain development highest at postnatal day 6, found in glial precursor cells differentiated from neural stem cells and in an A2B5-positive glial precursor cell line. Their stimulation by soluble CXCL16 induces the PI3-kinase/Akt and Erk pathways resulting in the activation of the transcription factor AP-1. As biological responses, soluble CXCL16 upregulates its own receptor, increases cell proliferation, stimulates cell migration in wound-healing and in spheroid confrontation assays. Invasion of CXCR6-positive glial cells into CXCL16-expressing spheroids can be blocked by sheddase inhibitors and CXCL16-antibody. Since CXCL16 is induced by cytokines at sites of inflammation, neurodegeneration, ischemia and malignant transformation, it should attract CXCR6-positive glial precursor cells, enhance their invasion and proliferation and thus favor astrogliosis.