This study was designed to determine the effect of cyclocreatine on the release of neutrophil chemotactic factors (NCF) from isolated rabbit hearts. We tested the hypothesis that if ischemia is important for the formation of NCF from the myocardium, then blocking (or delaying) ischemic changes with cyclocreatine should inhibit the release of NCF. Two models were used, including (1) perfusion of rabbit hearts (Langendorff apparatus) with oxygenated (95% oxygen) Krebs-Henseleit buffer (K-H buffer) containing 5% cyclocreatine for 120 minutes, and (2) incubating hearts with phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) containing 5% cyclocreatine for 120 minutes. For both models, rabbits were injected intravenously with 10 ml of 5% cyclocreatine solution 30 minutes before the animals were killed and the hearts removed. Control rabbits were injected with 5% creatine solution or saline for 30 minutes before perfusing hearts with K-H buffer or incubating with PBS. Chemotactic activity was assayed in the perfusates and supernatants using modified Boyden chambers and rabbit peritoneal neutrophils as indicator cells. The chemoattractant f-Met-Leu-Phe (f-MLP) was the positive control for a 100% response rate. Isolated hearts perfused with cyclocreatine showed significantly lower chemotactic activity (ie, 1.24 +/- 1% f-MLP; P less than 0.0001) compared to hearts perfused with K-H buffer (129 +/- 18%) or creatine (227 +/- 42%) (mean +/- standard error). Similar results were obtained using incubated hearts. Next the effect of cyclocreatine on neutrophils in the Boyden chamber was determined and it was found that it did not alter neutrophil migration, which excludes a direct inhibitory effect on the cells. Furthermore supernatant from cyclocreatine-treated hearts did not inhibit neutrophil chemotaxis to C5a, indicating absence of a chemotaxis inhibitor in this preparation. Results of these studies suggest that the observed low activity recovered in perfusate and supernatant of cyclocreatine-treated hearts is a result of reduction in the synthesis and/or release of the factors from myocardial tissues. Similar to previously established data, cyclocreatine treatment significantly preserved myocardial nucleotide levels (ie, adenosine triphosphate and creatine phosphate), which supports our hypothesis that the formation of NCF is ischemia dependent and that maintaining elevated levels of myocardial energy nucleotides reduced chemotactic factor release.