Suppression subtractive hybridization was used to analyze differential expression of genes in rat peritoneal macrophages after granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor treatment. We identified and cloned the mouse C10 analog gene in the rat, and named it as ccl6. The full-length cDNA of rat ccl6 was 467 bp, which contains a single-open reading frame and encodes 116 amino acid residues. Compared with other C-C chemokines, the rat ccl6 gene had an unusual four-exon genome structure instead of the typical three exons, it had the highest homology with murine ccl6. The rat ccl6 gene was localized on chromosome 10, where most of the C-C chemokine superfamily members are located. The recombinant rat C-C chemokine ligand 6 (CCL6) protein was expressed by the pGEX4T-1 plasmid in Escherichia coli BL21. The purified recombinant protein had bioactivity similar to that of mouse CCL6, which is a chemoattractant for macrophages and lymphocytes, but not for neutrophils.