1. The hyperalgesic effects of interleukin-8 (IL-8), interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta) and carrageenin were measured in a rat paw pressure test. 2. IL-8 evoked a dose-dependent hyperalgesia which was attenuated by a specific antiserum, the beta-adrenoceptor antagonists atenolol and propranolol, the dopamine receptor antagonist SCH 23390 and the adrenergic neurone-blocking agent guanethidine. The hyperalgesia was not attenuated by the cyclooxygenase inhibitor indomethacin or the IL-1 beta analogue Lys-D-Pro-Thr. 3. IL-1 beta-evoked hyperalgesia was attenuated by indomethacin and Lys-D-Pro-Thr but not by atenolol or SCH 23390. 4. Carrageenin-evoked hyperalgesia was attenuated by atenolol, indomethacin and anti-IL-8 serum. The effects of atenolol and anti-IL-8 serum were not additive. The effects of indomethacin and anti-IL-8 serum were additive: this combination abolished carrageenin-evoked hyperalgesia. 5. A new biological activity of IL-8 is described, namely the capacity to evoke hyperalgesia by a prostaglandin-independent mechanism. IL-8 is the first endogenous mediator to be identified as evoking hyperalgesia involving the sympathetic nervous system. Since IL-8 is released by activated macrophages and endothelial cells it may be a humoral link between tissue injury and sympathetic hyperalgesia.