Inositol trisphosphate (InsP3) production and cytosolic free Ca2+ ([Ca2+]i) elevations induced by leukotriene B4 (LTB4)-receptor activation were studied in the human promyelocytic-leukaemia cell line HL60, induced to differentiate by retinoic acid. The myeloid-differentiated HL60 cells respond to LTB4 by raising their [Ca2+]i with a dose-response relationship similar to that shown by normal human neutrophils. The observations of the LTB4 transduction mechanism were compared with those of the transduction mechanism of the chemotactic peptide fMet-Leu-Phe in HL60 cells differentiated with dimethyl sulphoxide. Both LTB4 and fMet-Leu-Phe triggered a rapid (less than 5 s) elevation of [Ca2+]i, which occurred in parallel with the InsP3 production from myo-[3H]inositol-labelled cells. The threshold concentrations of the agonists, for InsP3 production, were found at 10(-9) M, a slightly higher concentration than that required to detect [Ca2+]i elevations. No significant changes were noted in the phosphoinositide levels upon stimulation with LTB4. Exposure to Bordetella pertussis toxin before LTB4 stimulation abolished both the increased formation of InsP3 and the rise of [Ca2+]i. LTB4 and fMet-Leu-Phe elicited elevations of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate [Ins(1,4,5)P3] with no detectable lag time, followed by slower and more sustained inositol 1,3,4-trisphosphate elevations. Stimulation with various leukotriene analogues revealed a good correlation between both total InsP3 as well as Ins(1,4,5)P3 formation and elevations of [Ca2+]1. Thus LTB4 receptor activation results in an increased production of Ins(1,4,5)P3 via a transduction mechanism also involving a nucleotide regulatory protein, as previously described for the fMet-Leu-Phe transduction mechanism.