Retrograde menstruation is postulated as the initiating event in the histogenesis of endometriosis; however, subsequent steps in the pathogenesis of this common disorder remain poorly characterized. The ip accumulation of activated leukocytes and the infiltration of endometriosis lesions by macrophages and T cells are cytological markers of the inflammatory nature of this syndrome. The apparent recruitment of these leukocytes prompted us to search for chemokine expression by endometriosis cells. We reported previously that pelvic fluid RANTES (regulated upon activation, normal T cell expressed and secreted) concentrations correlated with the stage of endometriosis. In the current study, RANTES messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) was identified in normal endometrium and endometriosis lesions, and techniques were developed to localize RANTES protein within these tissues. Using isolated endometrial and endometriosis cell cultures, we demonstrated that RANTES mRNA and protein can be induced by the proinflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interferon-gamma in endometrial stromal, but not in epithelial or adenocarcinoma cells. Immunocytochemical studies confirmed the biochemical findings. Metabolic labeling experiments verified that nascent RANTES secreted by cytokine-stimulated endometriosis stromal cells was the mature, 8-kDa protein predicted by the mRNA encoding this chemokine. The results indicate that RANTES is a normal constituent of the eutopic endometrium. We propose that secretion of RANTES by ectopic endometriosis implants provides a mechanism for peritoneal leukocyte recruitment.