Chemokines are chemotactic cytokines that are important mediators of leukocyte extravasation and chemotaxis. Herein, we provide evidence that after 1 day of unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO), the mouse obstructed kidney (OBK) expresses MCP-1 (monocyte chemoattractant protein-1), RANTES (Regulated on activation normal T-cell expressed and secreted) and IP-10 (interferon-γ-induced protein-10). In addition, by day 7, MIP-2 (macrophage inflammatory protein-2) expression is elevated in the obstructed kidneys compared to the contralateral control kidneys (CLK). After 7 days of obstruction, RANTES was the most abundant of the four chemokines detected in the OBK. In situ hybridization results indicate that several cellular compartments contribute to the expression of RANTES in the OBK. However, clearly cortical tubules within the OBK contribute substantially to the elevated expression of RANTES. These data support the contention that the cortical tubular epithelium plays a pivotal role in the inflammation associated with experimental hydronephrosis.