Serum-free culture of human monocytes in the presence of monoclonal antibodies to the LFA-1 alpha chain (CD11a), CR3 alpha chain (CD11b) or beta chain (CD18) bound to Sepharose induced the dose-dependent production of cell-associated interleukin (IL) 1 activity and of IL 1 alpha and IL 1 beta antigens, but no release of extracellular IL 1 activity or antigen in the culture medium. Triggering of IL 1 production was also observed with insolubilized anti-CD11/CD18 F(ab')2 antibodies. Two cross-linked antibodies recognizing distinct epitopes on the CD11b molecule induced cell-associated IL 1. Soluble antibodies did not induce IL 1 production. The kinetics of induction of IL 1 by stimulation of adhesion-promoting proteins differed from those of IL 1 induction by adhesion to plastic. The lack of induction of IL 1 release by stimulation of the CD11/CD18 molecules resembled the intracellular accumulation of IL 1 induced by lipid A. Induction of IL 1 by adhesive processes may be a mechanism by which T cells trigger IL 1 production by monocytes during antigen presentation.