Monocyte chemotactic protein-4 (MCP-4) is a newly identified C-C chemokine with potent eosinophil chemoattractant properties. We describe studies of its biological activity in vitro to induce chemotaxis of peripheral blood eosinophils and to induce histamine release from IL-3- primed peripheral blood basophils. MCP-4 and eotaxin caused a similar rise in eosinophil intracytoplasmic Ca2+ and complete cross-desensitization. MCP-4 also abolished the eosinophil Ca2+ response to MCP-3 and partially desensitized the response to macrophage inflammatory protein-1α. MCP-4 activated cell migration via either CCR2b or CCR3 in mouse lymphoma cells transfected with these chemokine receptors. MCP-4 inhibited binding of 125I-eotaxin to eosinophils and CCR3-transfected cells and inhibited 125I-MCP-1 binding to CCR2b-transfectants. MCP-4 mRNA was found in cells collected in bronchoalveolar lavage of asthmatic and nonasthmatic subjects and was prominently expressed in human lung and heart. MCP-4 mRNA was expressed in several human bronchial epithelial cell lines after cytokine stimulation. Pretreatment of BEAS-2B epithelial cells with the glucocorticoid budesonide inhibited MCP-4 mRNA expression. These features make MCP-4 a candidate for playing a role in eosinophil recruitment during allergic respiratory diseases.