Interleukin (IL)-8 is a C-X-C chemokine that potently chemoattracts and activates neutrophils. We determined whether IL-8 could be produced by human airway smooth muscle cells in culture and examined its regulation. TNF-alpha stimulated IL-8 mRNA expression and protein release in a time- and dose-dependent manner, whereas IFN-gamma alone had no effect. Both cytokines together did not induce greater IL-8 release compared to TNF-alpha alone. IL-1beta was more potent in inducing IL-8 release and, together with TNF-alpha, there was a synergistic augmentation of IL-8 release. IL-8 release induced by TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma was partly inhibited by the Th-2-derived cytokines IL-4, IL-10, and IL-13, as well as by dexamethasone. In addition to its contractile responses, airway smooth muscle cells have synthetic and secretory potential with the release of IL-8 and subsequent recruitment and activation of neutrophils in the airways. Release of IL-8 can be modulated by Th-2-derived cytokines and corticosteroids.