We have compared assays for products of the neutrophil respiratory burst in normal EBV-transformed B cell lines stimulated with agonists of protein kinase C. Those measuring O2- directly or its immediate product, H2O2, were successful. Of these, the most sensitive were the lucigenin- and luminol-based chemiluminescence assays for O2- and H2O2 respectively. Cell lines from CGD patients, with X-linked or autosomal recessive genetic defects in the neutrophil NADPH oxidase, did not respond in these assays, indicative of their inability to produce O2-. The defects in the lines studied encompass both proteins forming the cytochrome b-245 membrane component, and the 47 kDa cytosolic component of the NADPH oxidase. The possession of the disease associated phenotype by these cell lines provides evidence that in the normal situation both neutrophils and B cells produce O2- via the same system.