Abstract Introduction Drug-eluting stent (DES) implantation represents an important innovation in the treatment of coronary artery disease. However, inflammatory-related complications, including subacute thrombosis and in-stent restenosis, are still important limitations to percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). The aim of this study was to compare early local release of interleukin 1β (IL-1β) and IL-6 proinflammatory cytokines after elective placement of either bare metal stents or DES. Materials and methods IL-1β and IL-6 levels were assayed in plasma obtained from the coronary sinus both before and 20 min after stent implantation in 59 patients with stable angina, who were randomly assigned to receive bare, paclitaxel-, or sirolimus-eluting stents during elective PCI. Results We found that IL-1β and IL-6 levels were significantly increased in the coronary sinus of patients receiving either bare, paclitaxel- or sirolimus-eluting stents 20 min after stent implantation as compared with basal concentrations. The variation in the level of both cytokines was comparable among the three study groups. Conclusions A local release of proinflammatory cytokines occurs shortly after coronary stent placement, including DES, which is possibly related to plaque rupture and/or endothelium traumatism following the stenting procedure. This suggests that precocious anti-inflammatory treatment could be of benefit to further improve the PCI clinical outcome.