Because of their effects on monocytes, monocyte chemotactic proteins-1 and -2 (MCP-1 and MCP-2) may participate in the pathophysiology of sepsis. We measured circulating MCP-1 and MCP-2 levels in 42 septic patients having positive local or blood cultures. MCP-1 and MCP-2 levels were elevated in 24 (57%) and 25 (59%) of 42 septic patients, respectively, compared with healthy volunteers. Both patients with gram-positive and gram-negative infections had elevated MCP-1 plasma levels (P = .0001) and P < .0001), respectively; Mann-Whitney-U test), whereas patients with gram-positive infection, but not those with gram-negative infection, had increased MCP-2 plasma levels (P= .0182). No relative differences in MCP-1 and MCP-2 plasma levels were observed between several subgroups of patients (sepsis v septic shock; survivors v nonsurvivors), although levels of MCP-1 were the highest in patients with the more severe forms of sepsis, ie, those with shock or a lethal outcome. Serial observations showed that MCP-1 and MCP-2 plasma levels remained elevated for at least 48 hours. MCP-1 correlated weakly with interleukin-8 and MCP-2, the correlations for which were most pronounced in patients with septic shock. MCP-2 correlated with interleukin-8, and surprisingly, with the complement activation product C3a; these correlations further improved when analyzing patients with septic shock or when applying gram-positive infections. Thus, our results not only show increased MCP-1 and MCP-2 levels in patients with sepsis, but also suggest that the synthesis and release of MCP-1 and MCP-2 in sepsis are differently regulated in part.