A variety of cytokines and other compounds are produced in the human adipose tissue and may have autocrine functions in the adipose tissue as well as be involved in the complications seen in association with obesity. Because it recently has been reported that interleukin 8 (IL-8), through its effects on the macrophage and endothelial cell, may be involved in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, we found it of interest to investigate whether IL-8 is produced in human adipose tissue in vitro. Human sc adipose tissue was investigated both in incubations with whole adipose tissue fragments as well as with isolated mature adipocytes. In adipose tissue fragments, IL-1beta (3 nM) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (0.6 nM) were able to stimulate IL-8 production by 12-fold and 5-fold, respectively (P < 0.001), when incubated for 48 h. Incubations with isolated adipocytes were performed up to 6 h, and IL-1beta and tumor necrosis factor alpha significantly increased IL-8 production by 50-60% (P < 0.05). Dexamethasone (50 nM) decreased IL-8 production from adipose tissue fragments by 57% (P < 0.01) and from adipocytes by 37% (P < 0.05). IL-8 messenger RNA expression in adipocytes incubated with IL-1beta was increased already after 2 h (P < 0.05). Thus, the effect of proinflammatory cytokines and dexamethasone on IL-8 production in adipose tissue seems to be mediated at the transcriptional level. In conclusion, it is demonstrated for the first time that IL-8 is produced and released from human adipose tissue and from isolated adipocytes in vitro, which may indicate that IL-8 from adipose tissue could be involved in some of the obesity-related complications.