Interleukin-8 (IL-8), a member of the CXC chemokine family, is an important activator and chemoattractant for neutrophils and has been implicated in a variety of inflammatory diseases. IL-8 is secreted in a stimulus-specific manner by a wide variety of cell types and is regulated primarily at the level of gene transcription. Functional studies indicate that IL-8 transcriptional responses to proinflammatory mediators are rapid and require only 100 nucleotides of 5'-flanking DNA upstream of the TATA box. Within the IL-8 promoter sequence are DNA binding sites for the inducible transcription factors AP-1, NF-IL-6, and NF-kappaB. Transcription factors in these families bind the IL-8 promoter as dimers, and several distinct subunit combinations have been identified as important for IL-8 transcription. In addition, these factors can act in concert to synergistically activate the IL-8 promoter. AP-1 and NF-IL-6 physically interact with NF-kappaB, and functional cooperativity among the factors appears to be critical for optimal IL-8 promoter activity in different cell types. IL-8 transcription appears to be activated by a promoter recruitment mechanism where inducible transcription factor binding to the IL-8 promoter is required for binding of constitutively active TATA box-binding proteins and formation of a stable preinitiation complex. This review discusses the regulatory role these higher-order synergistic interactions play in IL-8 transcription and in generation of the stimulus-specific and cell type-specific patterns of IL-8 expression.