Fc receptors of avian heterophils play a primary role in the elimination of bacterial pathogens in poultry. The cross-linking of Fc receptors with IgG-bacteria complexes results in the secretion of toxic oxygen metabolites and anti-bacterial granules. We have been investigating the upstream signaling events that precede degranulation following crosslinkage of Fc receptors on heterophils. Previously when using the non-selective pharmacological inhibitors genistein, chelerythrine, verapamil, and pertussis toxin, we found no significant inhibitory effects on Fc-mediated heterophil degranulation. In the present studies, we used more selective pharmacological inhibitors to investigate the roles of protein tyrosine kinases, phospholipase C (PLC), phosphatidylinositol 3'-kinase, and the family of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) on Fc-mediated heterophil degranulation. Inhibitors of the receptor-linked tyrosine kinases (the tryphostins AG 1478 and AG 1296) had no attenuating effects on the Fc receptor-mediated degranulation of chicken heterophils. Likewise, PP2, a selective inhibitor of the Src family of protein tyrosine kinases, had no inhibitory effects on degranulation. However, piceatannol, a selective inhibitor of Syk tyrosine kinase, significantly attenuated the effect of Fc receptor-mediated degranulation. Additionally, Fc-mediated degranulation was significantly attenuated by SB 203580, an inhibitor of p38 MAPK, but not by PD98059, an inhibitor of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK). An inhibitor of phospholipase C, U73122 and LY294002, an inhibitor of phosphoinositol-3 kinase significantly decreased heterophil degranulation. These results suggest that the Fc receptors on chicken heterophils, like their counterparts on mammalian neutrophils, have no intrinsic tyrosine kinase activity, but probably mediate downstream events through activation of tyrosine-based activation motifs (ITAM). Activation of the Syk tyrosine kinase stimulates downstream phosphorylation of p38 MAPK, phospholipase C, and phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase as signaling pathways that regulate Fc-receptor-mediated degranulation of chicken heterophils. Engaging Fc receptors on chicken heterophils activates a Syk-->PLC-->PI3-K-->p38 MAPK signal transduction pathway that induces degranulation.