We have found that pretreatment of human neutrophils with ibuprofen (0.10-1.0 mg/ml) results in an irreversible, concentration-dependent inhibition of superoxide anion generation and release of lysosomal enzymes (myeloperoxidase, lysozyme) stimulated by the synthetic peptide, N-formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine (FMLP), the complement fragment C5a, and to a lesser extent by serum opsonized zymosan. Inhibition of granule exocytosis and oxygen radical generation at ibuprofen concentrations less than 5 mg/ml was not due to drug cytotoxicity since release of the cytoplasmic enzyme lactate dehydrogenase was not affected by ibuprofen. In contrast to neutrophil responses mediated by C5a or FMLP, ibuprofen did not inhibit either enzyme release or superoxide anion generation by neutrophils stimulated with phorbol myristate acetate. Ibuprofen did not function as an oxygen radical scavenger in a cell-free system in which superoxide anion was generated by the aerobic action of xanthine oxidase on hypoxanthine. Ibuprofen also inhibited in a concentration-dependent fashion both directed migration (chemotaxis) and stimulated random migration (chemokinesis) of neutrophils exposed to either FMLP or C5a. Inhibition of neutrophil adherence to plastic surfaces and bovine pulmonary artery endothelial cells was equally effective when the neutrophils were treated with ibuprofen before stimulation with FMLP or phorbol myristate acetate. The inhibitory effects of ibuprofen pretreatment of neutrophils could not be overcome by addition of prostaglandins E1 or E2 (0.3-300 nM). These results demonstrate that ibuprofen is capable of suppressing many functions thought to be important in neutrophil-mediated acute pulmonary inflammatory processes. Results of these experiments further suggest that ibuprofen may inhibit neutrophil functions by acting on cellular components separate from membrane receptors or by blockade of cyclo-oxygenase products which may be involved in these neutrophil functions.