This prospective study compares levels of neutrophil chemotactic activity (NCA) in gastric juice to the neutrophil count in gastric biopsies. Sixty-three male patients enrolled in the study and had antral biopsies following collection of gastric juice during esophagogastroduodenoscopy. Biopsies were examined for the magnitude of gastritis, tissue PMN count, and presence of Helicobacter pylori. Secretions were assayed for neutrophil chemotactic activity. Results show an increase in NCA and in tissue PMN counts with increasing severity of gastritis. H. pylori-positive patients had higher levels of NCA and PMN than H. pylori-negative patients. Wide variability in NCA levels preclude a direct correlation between NCA and PMN counts.