Of the many factors determining host biocompatibility responses to implanted biomedical polymers, the cellular interactions at the tissue/material interface have been recognized to be some of the most important. The present study has combined results both from an in vitro cell culture system and from an in vivo animal model to examine this host response. In vitro results suggest that a variety of polymer materials can differentially activate human monocytes to produce a protein(s) having different biological activities. The polymers tested induce the production of the regulatory inflammatory protein interleukin 1 as well as a factor that enhances fibroblast proliferation and collagen synthesis. The observed activities of these factors appear to be related but not identical, and are dependent upon the specific polymer. Evaluation of exudate and tissue responses to these same polymer materials in an in vivo model are also presented. Both in vitro and in vivo results support the hypothesis that monocyte/macrophage activation with subsequent synthesis of regulatory factors such as interleukin 1 plays a significant role in determining the host response to biomedical polymer implants.