Human promyelocytic leukaemia HL-60 cells which have been differentiated by DMSO to granulocytes were used to investigate the effect of different waveforms on the release of interleukine-8 (IL-8). The cells were prestimulated with 100 pM fMLP and subsequently treated for 15 min with different electrical fields and currents. Three hours later the release of IL-8 into the medium was determined by ELISA. Varying the frequency of the sinusoidal electrical current between 0 and 20 Hz resulted in 2 maxima of IL-8 release at 5 and 13 Hz. Prestimulated cells were treated with sine-, triangular-, and rectangular-waveforms at 5 Hz in the current intensity range of 0-3 mA/cm(2). For the three waveforms tested, the IL-8 release was enhanced 1.5 fold. Treatment of the cells with capacitively coupled electric fields of 5 Hz using field strengths between 0 and 10 V(eff)/cm had no effect on the release of IL-8. In comparison to the positive results after sine wave exposure alone, an exposure with sine wave current to which noise had been superimposed had no effect on the HL-60 cells. From these investigations it can be concluded that for electrical current treatment of prestimulated HL-60 cells the release of IL-8 does not depend on the waveform if the waveform information is not destroyed by superimposed noise.