Hepatic stellate cells are widely recognized for their contribution to liver fibrosis. This study investigated whether these cells also promote hepatic inflammation by producing neutrophil chemoattractants. Specifically, stellate cells were examined as potential sources of cytokine-induced neutrophil chemoattractant (CINC), a rat chemokine resembling human interleukin-8. Stellate cells from normal rat liver expressed little or no CINC. In culture, CINC mRNA was induced rapidly, coinciding with the phenomenon of culture activation. CINC mRNA rose 4.6-fold within 3 days and was accompanied by secretion of immunoreactive and biologically active CINC protein (4.1 ng . microgram DNA-1 . day-1). Studies in vivo demonstrated that CINC could be induced in stellate cells during liver injury. CINC mRNA rose significantly (4- to 6-fold) in two models of liver disease, both of which cause stellate cell activation. In summary, the data indicate that CINC is induced during stellate cell activation in culture and in vivo. They suggest that stellate cell-derived CINC can promote hepatic inflammation in vivo.