In this study, we examined chemokine receptor expression and function in rat cerebellar neurons. Calcium imaging experiments demonstrated that a wide variety of chemokines elicited [Ca(2+)](i) transients in acutely isolated and cultured cerebellar Purkinje and granule neurons. In many cases, these chemokine responses were pertussis toxin (PTX) insensitive. In addition, chemokines activated the Ca(2+) and cAMP-dependent transcription factor CREB and the extracellular response kinases ERK1/ERK2. Chemokines increased the survival of Purkinje neurons deprived of their trophic support. Thus, the presence of chemokine receptors and the signaling pathways they activate suggest that chemokines play a role in the control of cerebellar neuron survival and development and may mediate communication between the CNS and the immune system.