The resolution of acute inflammation is incompletely understood but presumably requires the elimination of both inflammatory cells and production of inflammatory cytokines. In the case of recruited bone-marrow-derived inflammatory cells such as granulocytes and macrophages, their short life span helps eliminate these cells and the cytokines they produce. By contrast, resident permanent cells such as fibroblasts require other mechanisms to stop the production of chemokines generated in response to inflammatory triggers such as lipopolysaccharide. Here we demonstrate that RelB is an important regulator of chemokine expression in fibroblasts, thereby playing a key role in the resolution of acute inflammation. Activation of normal fibroblasts by lipopolysaccharide induced a transient production of chemokines, closely followed by induction of RelB expression. However, stimulated RelB-/- fibroblasts exhibited dramatic persistent induction of seven chemokines (RANTES, MIP-1 alpha, MIP-1 beta, MIP-2, IP-10, JE/MCP-1, and KC/CINC). The persistent overexpression of chemokines correlated with increased NF- kappa B binding as well as with increased p50, p65/RelA, and I kappa B alpha expression. Transfection of RelB cDNA into RelB-deficient fibroblasts reversed the lipopolysaccharide-induced chemokine overexpression. In vivo, activated RelB-/- fibroblasts dramatically increased recruitment of granulocytes into tissues. In view of the apparent role of RelB in the resolution of acute inflammation in tissues and previous work showing a requirement for RelB in the initiation of immune responses through the differentiation of antigen-presenting cells, RelB may be an important factor regulating the transition from innate to adaptive immunity.