Abstract Chlorotetracycline has been used in human polymorphonuclear leukocytes as a probe to investigate the state of membrane-bound calcium. We examined the effect of adenosine on the fluorescence responses of CTC-loaded PMNs stimulated with the synthetic chemotactic peptide, formylmethionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine. Adenosine inhibited the decrease in CTC fluorescence in a dose-dependent fashion and its effect was reversed by theophylline, an adenosine receptor antagonist. Removal of extracellular adenosine by incubating PMNs with adenosine deaminase abolished the effect of adenosine. These data suggest that adenosine inhibits the release of membrane-bound calcium in PMNs that normally occurs in response to chemotactic stimuli, acting via PMN surface adenosine receptors.