Migration of polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNL) from the vascular compartment into the pleural space occurs rapidly during the development of parapneumonic effusions. This study investigated the polarized secretion of interleukin (IL)-8 in activated pleural mesothelial cells (PMC) and the migration of PMNL across resting, activated PMC monolayers. Results show that PMC produce IL-8 in a polar manner. When PMC were stimulated with Staphylococcus aureus or IL-1β at the basal or at the apical surface, significantly (P < .05) more IL-8 was released toward the apical surface. This polarized production of IL-8 was confirmed by in situ hybridization. PMNL migration was higher from the basilar to apical than from the apical to basilar surface of PMC. Neutralizing antibodies against IL-8 and intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1 significantly (P < .001) blocked PMNL migration across activated monolayers. Thus, during pleural inflammation, PMC regulate the influx of PMNL into the pleural space by polar production of IL-8 and expression of ICAM-1.