Microbicidal and cytocidal products of the respiratory burst and integrin adhesion molecule expression have been studied in monocytes from patients who received rHuGM-CSF during regeneration after high-dose chemotherapy. In this study, administration of rHuGM-CSF after high-dose chemotherapy significantly augmented the secretion of inducible products of the monocyte respiratory burst. Monocyte activation persisted for several weeks after the cessation of GM-CSF therapy. Under in vitro conditions that mimicked gram-negative (LPS) and gram-positive (opsonized Staphylococcus aureus) sepsis, the monocyte responded to such stimulation by exhibiting an enhanced release of hydrogen peroxide at both regeneration and several weeks later (P < 0.001). Similarly, GM-CSF administration significantly augmented the phenotypic expression of the beta 2-integrin adhesion molecules and allowed the leucocyte-specific selectin, LAM-1, and the beta 2-integrins to respond normally to inflammatory stimulation by LPS. We further present evidence that GM-CSF therapy restored the otherwise refractory status of monocytes to inflammatory stimulation that existed in those patients given chemotherapy alone. The restoration of monocyte responsiveness by GM-CSF following high-dose chemotherapy could be a potentially valuable and hitherto not described action of rHuGM-CSF on monocyte function. We conclude that administration of GM-CSF may have the potential for restoring as well as augmenting the anti-microbial and anti-tumour function of the monocyte after high-dose chemotherapy.