IL-8, a cytokine known for its potent and specific neutrophil activation and chemoattractant properties, has been recently detected in the circulation during septic shock, endotoxemia, and after IL-1 alpha administration. Because of its observed in vitro actions, it has been hypothesized that IL-8 may contribute to the dynamics of circulating granulocytes and to the pathologic sequelae seen in sepsis. Here, human rIL-8 is administered to healthy nonhuman primates as a single i.v. injection or as a continuous 8-h i.v. infusion. We demonstrate that both methods of i.v. administration result in a rapid but transient, severe granulocytopenia, followed by a granulocytosis that persists as long as IL-8 levels are detectable in the circulation. There were no hemodynamic changes after IL-8 administration, and animals remained clinically stable during the 24-h observation period. No detectable circulating TNF-alpha, IL-1 beta, or IL-6 response was induced by either IL-8 administration regimen. Histopathologic examination revealed mild to moderate neutrophilic margination in lung, liver, and spleen, of greater severity in baboons receiving the 8-h infusion. There was no associated neutrophilic infiltration or tissue injury. Thus, IL-8 modulates circulating granulocyte dynamics and likely directs their actions, but when administered i.v. to healthy animals, either as a bolus dose or as a continuous infusion for up to 8 h, does not induce the hemodynamic and metabolic aberrations or the acute organ damage seen during sepsis.