Inhaled platelet-activating factor (PAF) causes bronchoconstriction and transient peripheral neutropenia in humans. We studied eight normal subjects to investigate whether inhaled PAF caused pulmonary neutrophil sequestration. All subjects received autologous 99mTc-red cells as a blood pool marker, seven received 111In-neutrophils, and one received 111In-platelets. Six subjects inhaled 48 micrograms of PAF. There was immediate pulmonary sequestration of 111In-neutrophils, maximal (218% baseline) at 6 min (p less than 0.001), returning to normal by 3 h. There was no change in circulating platelet count or pulmonary 111In-platelet transit. Methacholine inhalation caused equivalent bronchoconstriction to PAF, but it had no effect on neutrophil count or pulmonary 111In-neutrophil activity. We have demonstrated pulmonary neutrophil, but not platelet, sequestration after PAF. This supports a role for PAF as an inflammatory mediator in humans. This may be a useful model for exploring pulmonary neutrophil kinetics and preinflammatory processes.