Intercellular communications between alveolar macrophages (AM) and alveolar epithelial type II (TII) cells have been suggested to be important in cellular responses. The main objective of this study was to improve our understanding of the interactions between AM and TII cells that might occur in the lung. In the present investigation, this interaction was studied under different interaction conditions (transwell or mixed coculture) and different exposure conditions (basal, lipopolysaccharide [LPS] exposure, or silica exposure). Studies also attempted different approaches to identify specific mediator(s) involved in this interaction. The following findings were made: (1) Surfactant released from TII cells appears to exert an inhibitory effect on AM activity. (2) Basal transwell coculture conditions are better than mixed coculture conditions to study AM/TII cell interactions, since the inhibitory effect of the surfactant in the transwell coculture is minimized. (3) AM/TII cell interaction is dependent on cell culture (transwell vs mixed) and exposure conditions. (4) Oxidants, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-a, interleukin (IL)-1B, prostaglandins, and leukotrienes probably do not independently affect the AM/TII intercellular interaction; instead, they appear to indirectly modulate the complex pathways of AM/TII communication.