Chemokines are a superfamily of low-molecular-weight cytokines that were initially described for their chemoattractant activity. It is now clear chemokines have several other activities that modulate immune processes. More than 50 chemokines ligands and at least 19 receptors have been described to date. Depending on the number of N-terminal cysteine residues, chemokines are grouped in the subfamilies CXC, CC, C or CX3C. A growing body of evidence suggests a role for chemokines in the pathogenesis of several inflammatory diseases. Our studies involving mice and humans infected with Schistosoma mansoni
suggest an important role of the chemokine CCL3 and its receptors (CCR1 and CCR5) in the pathogenesis of severe schistosomiasis. We suggest that the differential activation of CCR1 or CCR5 during the course of schistosomiasis may dictate the outcome of the disease.