We have designed experiments to characterise leech leukocytes that mediate inflammatory responses. Shortly after inflicting injury to the body wall in the presence of lipopolysaccharides, many cells resembling macrophages, NK cells and granulocytes of vertebrates and many invertebrates migrated to the lesioned area. Nuclei of migrating cells incorporated bromodeoxyuridine. Using human monoclonal antibodies, macrophage-like cells were positive for CD25, CD14, CD61, CD68, CD11b and CD11c. NK-like cells were positive for CD25, CD56, CD57 and CD16, and granulocytes were positive for CD11b and CD11c. In blots of leech extracts, the CD25 monoclonal antibody recognised a band of about 55 kD; the CD56 monoclonal antibody, two bands of about 140 and 210 kD; the CD57 monoclonal antibody, two bands of about 106 and 70 kD; the CD14 monoclonal antibody, a band of about 50 kD; the CD16 monoclonal antibody, a band of about 60 kD. CD61 and CD68 both recognised a band of about 110 kD; CD11b recognised a band of 200 kD, and CD11c, a band of 180 kD.