Interleukin (IL)-8, the C-X-C chemokine, is a potent neutrophil chemoattractant that has been implicated in a number of inflammatory airway diseases such as cystic fibrosis. Here we tested the hypothesis that bradykinin, an inflammatory mediator and chloride secretagogue, would increase IL-8 generation in airway epithelial cells through autocrine generation of endogenous prostanoids. Bradykinin increased IL-8 generation in both a non-cystic fibrosis (A549) and cystic fibrosis epithelial cell line (CFTE29) that was inhibited by the nonselective cyclooxygenase (COX) inhibitor indomethacin and the COX-2 selective inhibitor NS-398. COX-2 was the only isoform of COX expressed in both cell lines. Furthermore, the COX substrate arachidonic acid and exogenous prostaglandin E(2) both increased IL-8 release in A549 cells. These results suggest that bradykinin may contribute to neutrophilic inflammation in the airway by generation of IL-8 from airway epithelial cells. The dependence of this response on endogenous production of prostanoids by COX-2 suggests that selective COX-2 inhibitors may have a role in the treatment of airway diseases characterized by neutrophilic inflammation such as cystic fibrosis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.