To assess the possible role of the production of chemokines by intrinsic glomerular cells in the generation of inflammation in glomerulonephritis, the chemokine, KC, was cloned from a rat macrophage cDNA library. Transfection of rat KC into COS-7 cells resulted in increased neutrophil chemotactic activity. The KC cDNA was expressed as a fusion protein in Escherichia coli for generation of an antibody. By using a riboprobe derived from the cDNA and the antibody, interleukin-1 (IL-1) was found to induce the expression of KC in rat mesangial cells. The induction of KC by IL-1 could be inhibited by dexamethasone (DEX). The protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide reversed the DEX-mediated inhibition, which suggested that new protein synthesis was necessary for the inhibitory effect. A nuclear runoff analysis indicated that DEX inhibited the transcription of KC induced by IL-1. The stability of KC mRNA was not decreased in the presence of DEX. Furthermore, immunoblots showed that DEX also inhibited KC expression at the level of translation. Together the inhibition of transcription and translation of the KC gene by DEX contribute to decreased KC expression in mesangial cells. The finding that mesangial cells express KC in response to proinflammatory cytokines, such as IL-1, points to a central role for the mesangial cell as a chemotactic source in glomerular inflammation.