The effect of interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-1 on the biosynthesis of complement components C3, factor B, C2, C4 and Cl inhibitor (Cl inh), as well as that of albumin, was studied in vitro in human hepatoma-derived cell line, HepG2. Measuring the amounts of secreted complement proteins we detected a significant upregulation of C3 by both hormones. The enhancement of the factor B and especially that of Cl inh production was predominant by IL-6. In our experimental system neither IL-1 nor IL-6 affected the biosynthesis of C2 and C4. Albumin secretion was significantly decreased only in the simultaneous presence of IL-1 and IL-6. Detection of the changes in the amounts of C3- and factor B-specific mRNA of HepG2 cells suggests a pretranslational regulation by these cytokines. The secretion of C3 and factor B was markedly potentiated when IL-1 and IL-6 were added together. However only the gene expression of factor B, but not of C3, was found to reveal synergism. IL-6 enhanced the in vitro production of C3 in mouse hepatocytes as well. This effect was greatly potentiated in the presence of histamine.