We studied the effects of TNF-converting enzyme inhibition with Y-41654, which down-regulates the production of soluble TNF-alpha (sTNF-alpha), on acute lung injury induced by intratracheal administration of LPS. We first verified in vitro that pretreatment of isolated alveolar macrophages from Sprague-Dawley male rats with 20 microL of 0.1-mM Y-41654, decreased significantly (P < 0.05) the concentration of sTNF-alpha in cell supernatants induced by 10 microg/mL of LPS. We then studied four groups of rats (each n = 10) including 1) a control group, 2) an LPS group (300 microg /kg, instilled intratracheally), 3) a Y-41654 group, and 4) a treatment group treated with Y-41654 after LPS instillation. Y-41654, 10 mg/kg in 0.7 mL of phosphate-buffered saline, was administered (i.v.), 15 min before and 0.5, 1.5, 2.5, and 3.5 h after saline or LPS instillation. The animals were observed for 4 h. In the animals treated with Y-41654, the concentrations of sTNF-alpha and protein in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, and the number of neutrophils in lung tissue and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid were significantly lower at 4 h than in the LPS group (P < 0.05). In conclusion, sTNF-alpha plays an important role in the development of acute lung injury induced by intratracheal administration of LPS, in part modulating neutrophil kinetics.