Patients with acute lung injury (ALI) who retain maximal alveolar fluid clearance (AFC) have better clinical outcomes. Experimental and small clinical studies have shown that β2-adrenergic receptor (β2AR) agonists enhance AFC via a cAMP-dependent mechanism. However, two multicenter phase 3 clinical trials failed to show that β2AR agonists provide a survival advantage in patients with ALI. We hypothesized that IL-8, an important mediator of ALI, directly antagonizes the alveolar epithelial response to β2AR agonists. Short-circuit current and whole-cell patchclamping experiments revealed that IL-8 or its rat analog CINC-1 decreases by 50% β2AR agonist-stimulated vectorial Cl- and net fluid transport across rat and human alveolar epithelial type II cells via a reduction in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator activity and biosynthesis. This reduction was mediated by heterologous β2AR desensitization and down-regulation (50%) via the G-protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 (GRK2)/PI3K signaling pathway. Inhibition of CINC-1 restored β2AR agonist-stimulated AFC in an experimental model of ALI in rats. Finally, consistent with the experimental results, high pulmonary edema fluid levels of IL-8 (>4000 pg/ml) were associated with impaired AFC in patients with ALI. These results demonstrate a novel role for IL-8 in inhibiting β2AR agonist-stimulated alveolar epithelial fluid transport via GRK2/PI3K-dependent mechanisms. © FASEB.