Human pus samples from various sites, including soft tissue and pleural cavity, as well as sputum from patients with cystic fibrosis have been analyzed by 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and found to generate high resolution spectra. Assignments have been made for neutral lipid, amino acids, taurine, and lactate. Human peripheral blood polymorphonuclear leukocytes have also been examined and a similar spectrum containing these lipid and metabolite resonances was detected in cells stimulated with lipopolysaccharide. In unstimulated cells, only resonances from taurine and lactate were observed, suggesting that the presence of the lipid and metabolite resonances is an indicator of cellular activation of polymorphonuclear leukocytes. This is the first report of 1H MRS applied to intact human polymorphonuclear leukocytes and extends available documentation as to which types of normal and/or diseased tissue contain MR visible molecules.