Sarcoidosis is a systemic disease of unknown etiology characterized by noncaseating granulomas, consisting mainly of epithelioid cells and multinucleated giant cells derived from monocyte-macrophage lineage cells. Monocytes fall into subpopulations comprising CD14++ CD16-, and CD14+ CD16+ cells, and expansion of the later monocytes has been reported under some pathological conditions. In this study, we examined the immunophenotype of blood monocytes in patients with sarcoidosis using two-color immunofluorescence flow cytometry. In healthy controls CD14+ CD16+ monocytes account for 5.8 +/- 2.8% of monocytes. The percentage of CD14+ CD16+ monocytes was significantly higher (p <0.02) in the sarcoidosis patients (11.8 +/- 4.9%) compared with those in healthy control subjects. The serum ACE levels were significantly correlated with the percentage of CD14+ CD16+ monocytes (p <0.05). In contrast, the percentage was not correlated with purinergic receptor expression of monocytes as estimated by LDH release from BzATP-stimulated monocytes. These findings suggest that CD14+ CD16+ monocytes represent a sensitive marker for the disease activity of sarcoidosis.