In this study, we attempted to isolate novel mast cell-stimulating molecules from Staphylococcus aureus. Water-soluble extract of S. aureus cell lysate strongly induced human interleukin- 8 in human mast cell line-1 and mouse interleukin-6 in mouse bone marrow-derived mast cells. The active molecule was purified to homogeneity through a C(18) reverse phase HPLC column. By determination of its structure by MALDITOF and (1)H- and (13)C-NMR, adenosine was revealed to be responsible for the observed cytokine induction activities. Further studies using 8-sulfophenyl theophylline, a selective adenosine receptor blocker, verified that purified adenosine can induce interleukin-8 production via adenosine receptors on mast cells. Moreover, adenosine was purified from S. aureusengulfed RAW264.7 cells, a murine macrophage cell line, used to induce phagocytosis of S. aureus. These results show a novel view of the source of exogenous adenosine in vivo and provide a mechanistic link between inflammatory disease and bacterial infection.