The hematopoietic cell kinase (hck) is a member of the src family of tyrosine kinases, and is primarily expressed in myeloid cells. Hck expression increases with terminal differentiation in both monocyte/macrophages and granulocytes and is further augmented during macrophage activation. Recent evidence has implicated src-related tyrosine kinases in critical signaling pathways in other hematopoietic lineages. Herein we demonstrate that manipulation of the level of hck expression in the murine macrophage cell line BAC1.2F5 alters the responsiveness of these cells to activation by bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) but does not affect survival or proliferation. Overexpression of an activated mutant of hck in BAC1.2F5 cells augments tumor necrosis factor (TNF) production in response to LPS, whereas inhibition of endogenous hck expression, by antisense oligonucleotides, interferes with LPS-mediated TNF synthesis. Together, these observations suggest that hck is an important component of the signal transduction pathways in activated macrophages.