Neutrophils produce large quantities of HOCl when stimulated by surface- associated immunoglobulin G, a result not seen when neutrophils are stimulated with soluble complexes of IgG. Compared with unactivated cells or cells stimulated with soluble aggregates of IgG, a significant influx of extracellular 45Ca2+ was observed in cells activated by surface- associated IgG. Removal of extracellular calcium with EGTA almost completely blocked HOCl production. Similarly, treatment of neutrophils with lanthanum, which has been shown to interfere with calcium channels, also effectively blocked HOCl production. These results were not secondary to an overall decrease in activation, as superoxide production and release of the specific granule protein lactoferrin and the azurophilic granule protein myeloperoxidase were not significantly altered by lanthanum or EGTA. Production of H2O2, the precursor of HOCl, was similarly decreased by both EGTA and lanthanum. Induction of extracellular calcium influx with a calcium ionophore in the presence of soluble aggregates of IgG resulted in HOCl production. Production of HOCl is not sensitive to inhibition by pretreatment of cells with pertussis toxin. These observations indicate that the differences in the biological responses of human neutrophils to surface- associated IgG compared with soluble aggregates of IgG are associated with differing signaling events, including influx of extracellular calcium.