Obesity is associated with the increased risk of cardiovascular disease; however, mechanisms responsible for such an increase are not fully understood. IL-8 is a cytokine that might have atherogenic properties. Recent in vitro studies revealed that IL-8 is produced and secreted by human adipocytes. The aim of the present study was to evaluate plasma IL-8 concentrations in obese subjects and the relationships between circulating IL-8 and anthropometric and biochemical parameters and TNF-alpha system. A total of 75 subjects with normal glucose tolerance, 35 lean and 40 obese, were recruited for this study. Plasma IL-8 levels were measured in fasting state, after an oral glucose tolerance test and after the euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp. A significant increase in plasma IL-8 was observed in the obese group. In simple regression analysis, performed for the initial evaluation of relationships, plasma IL-8 was related to body mass index, percentage of body fat, fat mass (FM), and soluble TNF-alpha receptor 2 (sTNFR2) in both groups and with waist-to-hip ratio and sTNFR1 in the obese. In multiple regression analysis, FM, waist-to-hip ratio, gender, sTNFR2, and low density lipoprotein cholesterol were responsible for 44% of IL-8 variability. During oral glucose tolerance testing, mean plasma IL-8 concentrations increased in both groups, whereas clamp resulted in a significant increase in plasma IL-8 only in the obese. We conclude that plasma IL-8 levels are increased in obese subjects, and are related to FM and TNF-alpha system. Increase in circulating IL-8 might be one of the factors linking obesity with greater cardiovascular risk.