- 1. Rat hepatocytes were cultured for 2 days in Williams E medium containing 1 microM insulin and dexamethasone. 2. Production of five plasma proteins was determined by electroimmunoassay in the media, and amino acid uptake was measured by [alpha-14C]aminoisobutyric acid accumulation in hepatocytes. 3. Supernatants from rat peritoneal macrophages and IL-6/IFN-beta 2/BSF-2 obtained from four different laboratories similarly stimulated synthesis of fibrinogen, alpha 1-cysteine proteinase inhibitor and alpha 2-macroglobulin, as well as [14C]-accumulation in cultured hepatocytes. 4. It is concluded that IL-6 is the principal hepatocyte stimulating factor responsible for typical features of the acute phase response of liver cells.