We investigated whether tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta), and interleukin-8 (IL-8) are involved in the inflammatory reaction of Helicobacter pylori infection. In 23 patients with H. pylori infection and 16 patients with negative cultures for H. pylori and normal antral mucosa, the mucosal production of TNF-alpha, IL-1 beta, and IL-8 was measured in antral biopsy specimens after 23 h of in vitro culture. The levels of TNF-alpha and IL-1 beta appeared to be significantly higher in H. pylori-positive patients (p = 0.0002 for both TNF-alpha and IL-1 beta). IL-8 production was also higher in H. pylori-infected subjects, but this difference did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.057). No significant differences were found between the level of the cytokines in H. pylori-infected patients with or without duodenal ulcer disease. A strong correlation was found between the production of IL-1 beta and IL-8. The biologic effects of these cytokines may explain the conspicuous recruitment, influx, and activation of neutrophils in the gastric mucosa during H. pylori infection.