Human neutrophils were primed by exudation or pretreatment with a synthetic diacylglycerol (diC10), the Ca2+ ionophore ionomycin or lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Compared to control cells, these primed cells showed a significantly decreased O2-/H2O2 ratio when stimulated with formylmethionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine (FMLP). This shift indicates a comparative (and net) increased H2O2 detection in the extracellular medium and can not be explained by a dose-dependent impairment in either O2- or H2O2 detecting capacity. An altered H2O2 degenerating capacity was not observed in the primed cells. We propose that priming enhances the capacity to divalently reduce oxygen and thereby directly produce H2O2.