In this study, we evaluated whether human serum and lipoproteins, especially high-density lipoprotein (HDL), affected serum amyloid A (SAA)-induced cytokine release. We verified the effects of SAA on THP-1 cells in serum-free medium compared to medium containing human serum or lipoprotein-deficient serum. SAA-induced tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) production was higher in the medium containing lipoprotein-deficient serum than in the medium containing normal human serum. The addition of HDL inhibited the SAA-induced TNF-α release in a dose-dependent manner. This inhibitory effect was specific for HDL and was not affected by low-density lipoprotein or very low-density lipoprotein. In human peripheral blood mononuclear cells, the inhibitory effect of HDL on TNF-α production induced by SAA was less pronounced. However, this effect was significant when HDL was added to lipoprotein-deficient medium. In addition, a similar inhibitory effect was observed for interleukin-1 beta release. These findings confirm the important role of HDL and support our previous hypothesis that HDL inhibits the effects of SAA during SAA transport in the bloodstream. Moreover, the HDL-induced reduction in the proinflammatory activity of SAA emphasizes the involvement of SAA in diseases, such as atherosclerosis, that are characterized by low levels of HDL.