Luminol-enhanced chemiluminescence (CL) was used to study the ability of various strains of Neisseria meningitidis (MC) to induce oxidative metabolism of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNL); an indirect measure of phagocytic activity. To circumvent variations related to different PMNL donors, a MC serogroup X strain was used as a control for indexing the CL responses induced by other MC strains. This procedure, with pooled serum from healthy blood donors to standardize opsonising conditions, gave reproducible and comparable results, irrespective of PMNL donors. Under these conditions, there was a highly significant difference between pathogenic and non-pathogenic MC strains as regards their ability to induce CL responses (p less than 0.001). The results indicated that the differences were due partly to opsonizing antibodies, partly to other differences related to pathogenicity of tested MC strains. These differences in leukocyte/MC interaction were also confirmed by phagocytic-killing experiments. The index procedure of CL measurements may be a suitable method to study the appearance of natural immunity to MC disease, as well as the pathogenicity of particular MC strains.