- Superoxide release in neutrophils and sera levels of interleukin 8 (IL-8) were determined in 15 patients with complicated acute myocardial infarction (MI) and 15 patients with uncomplicated MI. All patients showed increased superoxide release in unstimulated and stimulated neutrophils compared with healthy control subjects, indicating priming of these cells. Superoxide release of unstimulated or stimulated neutrophils was found to be significantly higher in patients with complicated MI than in patients with uncomplicated MI. Thrombolytic therapy did not affect the rates of superoxide release. The neutrophil chemoattractant/activator IL-8 was detected in the sera of all patients, with significantly higher levels in those with complicated MI. The highest levels of IL-8 were detected at admission to the Coronary Care Unit and significantly decreased thereafter, suggesting its contribution to neutrophil-mediated tissue injury. The high levels of IL-8 may be one of the major contributors to the priming of neutrophils in these patients.