CC chemokines are important mediators of immune responses, orchestrating the differential recruitment of various leukocyte populations. Despite the large number of known CC chemokines in other species, no cDNA encoding ovine CC chemokines have been isolated. A homology cloning strategy was utilised to isolate the cDNA of ovine CC chemokines. Full-length monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1alpha and -2 cDNA have been isolated. The predicted ovine MCP-1alpha amino acid sequence shares 87 and 75% identity with bovine MCP-1alpha and porcine MCP-1, respectively. The predicted ovine MCP-2 amino acid sequence shares 92 and 85% identity with bovine and porcine MCP-2, respectively. Northern blot analysis of MCP-1alpha revealed that it is strongly expressed in cells isolated from mammary lavage fluid (MAL) of ewes given intramammary infusions of Haemonchus contortus. Weak signals were detected in mammary and abomasal tissue. Southern blot analysis of reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) products indicates that MCP-1alpha mRNA levels increase in abomasum after challenge with H. contortus. MCP-1alpha mRNA levels were also increased in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) cells and lung tissue after house dust mite extract (HDME) challenge. Similarly, MCP-2 mRNA was detected by Northern blot analysis at high levels in MAL cells after H. contortus intramammary infusion, and increased in BAL cells and lung tissue in HDME-challenged sheep. MCP-2 mRNA was not detected by Northern blots in whole mammary or abomasal tissue, but Southern blot analysis of RT-PCR products also indicates that MCP-2 mRNA increases in abomasal tissue after challenge with H. contortus. Hence, two ovine CC chemokine mRNA have been isolated that are up-regulated in response to parasite infection and allergen challenge. Ultimately the isolation of these and other ovine CC chemokines will help elucidate a wide variety of immune responses in sheep.