It has previously been demonstrated that the presence of fetal bovine serum is necessary for TGF-β3 (transforming growth factor beta 3)-dependent elimination of low-dose hyper-radiosensitivity (HRS) in cells by 1 h of low-dose-rate γ-irradiation (0.2-0.3 Gy/h). The purpose of the present study was to identify the serum constituent involved. Two human HRS-positive (T-47D, T98G) cell lines were used. The effects of different pretreatments on HRS were investigated using the colony assay. Total inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) levels were measured using a cell-based ELISA assay. The serum factor was identified as interleukin-13 (IL-13). In order for low dose-rate irradiation to eliminate HRS through the TGF-β3-dependent mechanism, the cells must be exposed to IL-13 first. Inhibiting receptor IL-13Rα2 showed that this receptor is involved in the response. Adding IL-13 to serum-free medium restored the properties of full medium but not when an inhibitor of proprotein convertase activity was added together with IL-13. The presence of IL-13 resulted in upregulation of total iNOS protein levels. Thus, this study indicates that IL-13 interacts with the cells though receptor IL-13Rα2 and induces upregulation of iNOS and activation of one or more furin-like proprotein convertases.