Chemoattractant properties of matrix proteins, like collagen and elastin, for neutrophils and monocytes in vitro have long been recognized. This activity often resides in fragments of these proteins. These peptides may play a role in diseases of the lung matrix, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Recent advances include the elucidation of the structure of chemotactic collagen fragments and the demonstration that their activity may reside in a structural relatedness to CXC chemokines. Collagen and elastin fragments have been demonstrated to have a role in in vivo lung pathophysiology and have been quantified in patients with chronic lung diseases where they may activate autoimmune pathways. Elucidation of these pathways may provide novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets for chronic lung diseases. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.