The chemokine receptor CXCR6 has been described on lymphoid cells and is thought to participate in the homing of activated T-cells to non-lymphoid tissue. We now provide evidence that the chemokine receptor CXCR6 is also expressed by activated polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN) in vivo: Examination of biopsies derived from patients with pancreatic carcinoma by confocal laser scan microscopy revealed a massive infiltration of PMN that expressed CXCR6, while PMN of the peripheral blood of these patients did not. To answer the question whether CXCR6 expression is a property of infiltrated and activated PMN, leucocytes were collected from patients with localized soft tissue infections in the course of the wound debridement. By cytofluorometry, the majority of these cells were identified as PMN. Up to 50% of these PMN were also positive for CXCR6. Again, PMN from the peripheral blood of these patients were nearly negative for CXCR6, as were PMN of healthy donors. In a series of in vitro experiments, up-regulation of CXCR6 on PMN of healthy donors by a variety of cytokines was tested. So far, a minor, although reproducible, effect of tumour necrosis factor (TNFalpha) was seen: brief exposure with low-dose TNFalpha induced expression of CXCR6 on the surface of PMN. Furthermore, we could show an increased migration of PMN induced by the axis CXCL16 and CXCR6. In summary, our data provide evidence that CXCR6 is not constitutively expressed on PMN, but is up-regulated under inflammatory conditions and mediates migration of CXCR6-positive PMN.