We have studied the relationship between interleukin-8 (IL-8) and interleukin-1 alpha (IL-1 alpha) release after stimulation with all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) in the human epithelial ovarian cancer cell line HOC-7. Both IL-1 alpha and IL-8 protein release were enhanced by treatment with ATRA and TNF-alpha after 48 h exposure. Blocking of IL-1 alpha activity in HOC-7 cells with either IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra) or a neutralizing antibody directed against IL-1 alpha resulted in a dose-dependent decrease of IL-8 release by ATRA, TNF-alpha and IL-1 alpha treated HOC-7 cells. Expression of IL-8 mRNA was enhanced by the individual stimuli, whereas co-treatment with IL-1ra resulted in a loss of IL-8 specific transcripts, except in TNF-alpha treated cells. Inhibition of de novo protein synthesis by cycloheximide (CHX) and simultaneous blocking of IL-1 alpha activity by IL-1ra for 24 h revealed that ATRA controls IL-8 gene expression transcriptionally and that the extent of IL-8 protein release can be markedly influenced by cellular expressed IL-1 alpha.