Chemokines have been implicated in the promotion of leucocyte trafficking to diseased muscle. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a subset of inflammatory chemokines are able to directly drive myoblast proliferation, an essential early component of muscle regeneration, in a manner which is entirely independent of leucocytes. Cultured myoblasts (C2C12) were exposed to monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1; CCL2), macrophage inflammatory protein-1α(MIP-1α; CCL3) or MIP-1β (CCL4). All chemokines induced phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and greatly increased myoblast proliferative responses. Chemokine-induced myoblast proliferation was abolished by pertussis toxin and the MEK1/2 inhibitor U0126, implicating both Gαi-coupled receptors and ERK1/2-dependent signalling. Myoblasts expressed receptors for all of the chemokines tested, and mitogenic responses were specifically inhibited by antibodies directed against CC family chemokine receptors 2 and 5 (CCR2 and CCR5). Within an in vitro myogenic wound healing assay devoid of leucocytes, all chemokines significantly accelerated the time course of myoblast wound closure after mechanical injury. Injections of MCP-1 into cardiotoxin-injured skeletal muscles in vivo also suppressed expression of the differentiation marker myogenin, consistent with a mitogenic effect. Taken together, our results indicate that CC chemokines have potent and direct effects on myoblast behaviour, thus indicating a novel role in muscle repair beyond leucocyte chemoattraction. Therefore, interventions aimed at modulating the balance between myoblast and leucocyte effects of CC chemokines in injured muscle could represent a novel strategy for the treatment of destructive muscle pathologies.