CC chemokine receptor 2 (CCR2) plays important roles in extravasation and transmigration of monocytes under inflammatory conditions. CCR2 and its ligands have been extensively studied in a range of inflammatory diseases in the central nervous system (CNS), including multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease and ischemic stroke. This brief review summarizes our current understanding of the physiologic and pathologic roles of CCR2, focusing on its involvement in CNS inflammatory diseases. There appears to be a rationale for exploring therapies involving CCR2 inhibition in multiple sclerosis and ischemic stroke, but there is also evidence for immunomodulatory and protective effects of CCR2 activity during CNS inflammation. The critical balance between protective and detrimental roles of CCR2-dependent recruitment of leukocytes must therefore be carefully examined to guide safe and effective development of any therapies involving CCR2 modulation.