Peripheral blood monocytes are important mediators of inflammation via the generation of various bioactive substances, including the recently isolated and cloned chemotactic peptide IL-8. Through cytokine networking, monocyte-derived cytokines are capable of inducing IL-8 expression from non-immune cells. IL-4, a B and T lymphocyte stimulatory factor, has recently been shown to inhibit monocyte/macrophage function, including the ability to suppress monocyte-generated cytokines. We describe the in vitro inhibition of IL-8 gene expression and synthesis from LPS, TNF, and IL-1 stimulated peripheral blood monocytes by IL-4. IL-4 suppressed IL-8 production from stimulated monocytes in a dose-dependent fashion, with partial suppression observed at IL-4 concentrations as low as 10 pg/ml. The IL-4-induced suppressive effects were observed even when IL-4 was administered 2 h post-LPS-stimulation. The IL-4-induced inhibition of IL-8 mRNA expression was dependent on protein synthesis, as the suppressive effects of IL-4 were significantly negated by the addition of cycloheximide. Our findings suggest that IL-4 may be an important endogenous regulator of inflammatory cell recruitment, and adds further support to the potential role of IL-4 as a down-regulator of monocyte immune function.