A finding commonly observed in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected patients is invasion of the brain by activated T cells and infected macrophages, eventually leading to the development of neurological disorders and HIV-1-associated dementia. The recruitment of T cells and macrophages into the brain is likely the result of chemokine expression. Indeed, earlier studies revealed that levels of different chemokines were increased in the cerebrospinal fluid of HIV-1-infected patients whereas possible triggers and cellular sources for chemokine expression in the brain remain widely undefined. As previous studies indicated that HIV-1 Tat, the retroviral transactivator, is capable of inducing a variety of cellular genes, we investigated its capacity to induce production of chemokines in astrocytes. Herein, we demonstrate that HIV-1 Tat(72aa) is a potent inducer of MCP-1, interleukin-8 (IL-8), and IP-10 expression in astrocytes. Levels of induced IP-10 protein were sufficiently high to induce chemotaxis of peripheral blood lymphocytes. In addition, Tat(72aa) induced IL-8 expression in astrocytes. IL-8 mRNA induction was seen less then 1 h after Tat(72aa) stimulation, and levels remained elevated for up to 24 h, leading to IL-8 protein production. Tat(72aa)-mediated MCP-1 and IL-8 mRNA induction was susceptible to inhibition by the MEK1/2 inhibitor UO126 but was only modestly decreased by the inclusion of the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) inhibitor SB202190. In contrast, Tat-mediated IP-10 mRNA induction was suppressed by SB202190 but not by the MEK1/2 inhibitor UO126. These findings indicate that MAPKs play a major role in Tat(72aa)-mediated chemokine induction in astrocytes.