Exposure of human epithelial lung cells to fluorides is known to induce a marked increase in the release of interleukin (IL)-8, a chemokine involved in neutrophil recruitment. In the present study, the involvement of mitogen-activating protein kinases (MAPKs), the role of upstream activation of Src family kinases (SFKs), epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) activation and the interrelationships between these pathways in fluoride-induced IL-8 were examined in a human epithelial lung cell line (A549). Sodium fluoride strongly activated MAPK, in particular JNK1/2 and p38. The ERK1/2-inhibitor PD98059, the p38-inhibitor SB202190 and the JNK1/2-inhibitor SP600125 partially inhibited the fluoride-induced IL-8 response. Combinations of these inhibitors reduced the responses nearly to basal levels. Treatment with siRNA against JNK2 also reduced the IL-8 response to fluoride. Furthermore, fluoride activated SFKs, which was abolished by the SFK-inhibitor PP2. PP2 substantially inhibited the increased levels of IL-8, and partially reduced the fluoride-induced activation of ERK1/2, p38 and JNK1/2. Fluoride exposure also led to a phosphorylation of the EGFR, that was partially inhibited by PP2. AG1478, an EGFR-inhibitor, partially reduced the fluoride-induced IL-8 response and the phosphorylation of JNK1/2 and ERK1/2, but less the phosphorylation of p38. The effects of AG1478 were less than that of PP2. In conclusion, our findings suggest that the fluoride-induced IL-8 release involves the combined activation of ERK1/2, JNK1/2 and p38, and that the phosphorylation of these kinases, and in particular JNK1/2 and ERK1/2, partly, is mediated via a SFK-dependent EGFR-linked pathway. SFK-dependent, but EGFR-independent mechanisms seem important, and especially for phosphorylation of p38.