Starting with a previously isolated cDNA clone encoding murine IL-6R, a stable transformed Chinese hamster ovary cell line constitutively expressing soluble murine IL-6R (smIL-6R) has been established. The smIL-6R was purified to homogeneity by sequential filtration and chromatography of culture medium. The smIL-6R augmented the sensitivity of M1 cells to IL-6 in their growth inhibition in a dose-response manner. Rat hybridomas producing mAb specific to murine IL-6R were also established. One of the clones, RS13, produced IgG2a isotype that was capable of inhibiting IL-6 activity. ELISA for the quantitation of smIL-6R was established, which could detect smIL-6R in a quantity as low as 1 ng/ml.