Interleukin-6 (IL-6) regulates essential physiological functions such as acute phase reaction, immune response and hematopoiesis. We here studied possible protective effects of IL-6 on skin damage caused by 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA) by using IL-6 null mice. The mice were topically applied with a single dose of DMBA (500 microg /mouse) on the dorsal skin. Osmotic pumps filled with recombinant human IL-6 (rhIL-6) were implanted subcutaneously on the ventral side of the mice. Control mice received PBS instead of rhIL-6 by the pump. Severe skin damage was observed in IL-6-null mice, whereas only epidermal hyperplasia was observed in the wild-type mice. Recombinant hIL-6 treatment to DMBA-treated IL-6-null mice suppressed the occurrence of the skin damage, indicating.