Human articular chondrocytes, when stimulated with interleukin 1 beta (IL 1 beta), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), or with the double stranded RNA poly (rI).poly (rC), produce a chemotactic activity for granulocytes. The induction with IL 1 beta could be abolished by an antibody to IL 1 beta but not by an antibody to interleukin 6 (IL 6), indicating that the latter is not a mediator for the production of chemotactic activity. The inducers had no direct chemotactic effect on granulocytes. The granulocyte chemotactic factor from chondrocytes was characterized with a specific antibody against leukocyte-derived interleukin 8 (IL 8). The specificity of this antibody was demonstrated by immunochemical and biological criteria such that it could immunoprecipitate only the 6-7 kDa IL 8 protein from fibroblasts, and that it did not neutralize a structurally related monocyte chemotactic protein. This antibody against IL 8 completely neutralized the granulocyte chemotactic activity from stimulated chondrocytes. This demonstrates the identity of chondrocyte IL 8 with leukocyte- and fibroblast-derived IL 8. Our data show that leukocyte chemotaxis into the inflamed joint can be mediated by IL 8, induced in both synovial fibroblasts and chondrocytes by the inflammatory cytokines IL 1 and TNF-alpha.