Although interleukin (IL)-2 may in part be responsible for lymphocyte accumulation to sites of active sarcoidosis, other cytokines that control such recruitment are not well characterized. Similarly, the pathogenic rationale for the ability of sarcoid macrophages to produce 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol (calcitriol) is not understood. We studied the release of chemokinetic lymphokines from human nylon wool-non-adherent tonsillar lymphocytes (HNTLs) employing a standard in vitro lymphocyte migration assay. If mitogen-stimulated HNTL supernatants were fractionated by high-performance liquid chromatography, five positive and one negative chemokinetic factors could be identified. The five lymphocyte chemoattractant factors (LCFs) ranged in mol wt from 5 to 35 kD and stimulated the in vitro migration of nonsensitized human lymphocytes by 200 to 500%. The LCFs appeared distinct from IL-2, IL-1, or gamma-interferon. Co-incubation of HNTLs with mitogen and 1 nM calcitriol prevented the production or release of two of the LCFs and significantly decreased the quantity of a third LCF. Calcitriol also resulted in the appearance of a second negative chemokinetic factor, lymphocyte migration inhibitory factor (LyMIF). Combined with our previous studies demonstrating that calcitriol interferes with IL-2-induced lymphocyte migration, these results provide a rationale for an anti-inflammatory role for calcitriol in sarcoidosis and other granulomatous disorders. These experiments also demonstrate that the control of lymphocyte recruitment to inflammatory foci is multifactorial.