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In this report, recombinant interleukin-8 (rIL-8) was produced and its activity tested for the first time in fish. The rainbow trout rIL-8 was produced in Escherichia coli and purified using a 6xHis tag at the N-terminus. The rIL-8 induced a dose-dependent migration of head kidney leukocytes at concentrations from 0.1 to 10 ng/ml, with a peak response at 1 ng/ml. Trout rIL-8 also had a significant effect on superoxide production by head kidney cells, with maximal activity at 0.1 and 1 ng/ml. When injected intraperitoneally into trout, rIL-8 had a clear effect on total leukocyte number in the peritoneal cavity, with increasing doses (up to 5 μg) eliciting more cells. Of three leukocyte types distinguished, neutrophils were the dominant cell type, especially at higher rIL-8 concentrations. In contrast, the proportion of macrophages and lymphocytes decreased with rIL-8 administration, suggesting that they were not attracted at the same rate as neutrophils.