Neutrophil activation is a multistep process. In vitro activation of neutrophils with semiphysiological activators is optimal only after preactivation or priming with cytokines, chemotaxins, and/or bacterial products. Until now, no antibodies have been developed that can distinguish between resting and (cytokine) primed neutrophils with a sufficient dynamic range necessary for screening clinical samples. We have isolated two human phage antibodies, designated MoPhab A17 and A27, from a synthetic bacteriophage antibody library. These phage antibodies recognize epitopes that are upregulated on neutrophils present in whole blood treated with low priming concentrations of cytokines, such as GM-CSF and TNF-alpha. This induction was time- and concentration-dependent and optimal at concentrations that are sufficient for priming functional responses in neutrophils: GM-CSF (10 pM) and TNF-alpha (100 IU/ml). PMNs, isolated from the peripheral blood of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients with a clinical exacerbation, exhibited a partial in vivo primed phenotype. These antibodies promise to be an ideal tool to monitor disease activity in whole blood of patients with inflammatory diseases.