Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a major and increasing global health problem. It is predicted by the World Health Organization to become the third most common cause of death and the fifth most common cause of disability in the world by 2020. COPD is a complex inflammatory disease involving several types of inflammatory cells and multiple inflammatory mediators. Although abnormal numbers of inflammatory cells such as macrophages, dendritic cells, neutrophils, and T lymphocytes have been documented in COPD, the relationship between these cell types and the sequence of their appearance and persistence is largely unknown. Alveolar macrophages have been identified as one of the major cell types that plays a key role in orchestrating the inflammatory events associated with the pathophysiology of COPD. One of the major functions of macrophages is the secretion of chemotactic factors and this function is markedly increased on exposure to cigarette smoke (CS). This enhanced release of chemoattractants results in increased lung neutrophil infiltration, which is thought to be a key event in the development of COPD. The molecular basis for this amplified inflammatory response is not very clear, but it could be due to an alteration in signal transduction pathways within the macrophage. Based on existing literature, an attempt has been made to create a comprehensive review of the signal transduction pathways that link the activation of macrophages with the increased recruitment of neutrophils into the airways. Some of the major stimuli that activate macrophages and cause them to secrete chemotactic factors have been identified as CS, wood smoke, ozone, bacterial endotoxin, and proinflammatory cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-1β and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α. These stimuli seem to activate mainly redox-sensitive transcription factors such as nuclear factor (NF)-κ B and activator protein (AP)-1, both of which play a major role in the synthesis and secretion of chemotactic factors such as IL-8 and leukotriene B4 (LTB4). The pathways involved in the synthesis and secretion of other factors such as macrophage chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1) and growth-related oncogene-α (Gro-α) have also been reviewed.