High mobility group (HMGB)1/amphoterin is a multifunctional cytokine involved in invasion and metastasis of cancer and in inflammation. To investigate HMGB1/amphoterin effects on macrophages, U937 human monocytic leukemia cells and rat peritoneal and human alveolar macrophages were examined. U937 cells expressed low levels of an HMGB1/amphoterin receptor, receptor for advanced glycation end-products (RAGE), whereas RAGE production was induced in differentiated phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA)-U937 cells. Treatment with cultured medium of HMGB1/amphoterin-secreting WiDr human colon cancer cells showed growth inhibition of both U937 and PMA-U937 cells and apoptosis in PMA-U937 cells. The number of PMA-U937 cells was markedly decreased by co-culture with WiDr cells exposed to HMGB1/amphoterin sense S-oligodeoxynucleotide (ODN) in spheroids or monolayers. In contrast, PMA-U937 cells co-cultured with WiDr cells exposed to HMGB1/amphoterin anti-sense S-ODN were preserved in number. PMA-U937 cells exposed to RAGE anti-sense S-ODN were insensitive to WiDr-cultured medium. Recombinant human HMGB1/amphoterin induced growth inhibition in thioglycollate-induced rat peritoneal macrophages, PMA-U937 cells, and human alveolar macrophages, an effect that was abrogated by absorption with anti-HMGB1 antibody. Phosphorylation of JNK and Rac1 was induced in PMA-U937 cells treated with HMGB1/amphoterin. These results suggest that HMGB1/amphoterin induces growth inhibition and apoptosis in macrophages through RAGE intracellular signaling pathway.