Concurrent pulmonary inflammation and neutrophil infiltration are characteristic of children with cystic fibrosis (CF). The production of the major neutrophil chemotactic cytokine IL-8 by alveolar macrophages or other cells could be of great importance in the pathology of acute lung disease, but its role in the persistent lung inflammation characteristic of CF has not been evaluated. In this study, we have measured, by ELISA, the concentration of IL-8 in sputum, bronchoalveolar lavage, and sera specimens obtained from children with CF. For comparison, IL-8 in bronchoalveolar lavage obtained from asthmatic patients and from non-CF children with or without lung infection and in sera from age-matched controls was measured. High levels of IL-8 were measured in sputum (mean = 2952 pM) and in bronchoalveolar lavage (mean = 6624 pM) from CF patients. In both cases, there was a significant correlation between clinical status (Schwachman score) and IL-8 levels. This was not true for IL-8 levels measured in sera, which nevertheless were significantly higher in CF patients (p = 0.0001) than in normal controls in the over-10-y age group.