Poly(A) mRNA was isolated from human placental trophoblast cells stimulated with 100 U/mL of interleukin-2 and 5 microg/mL of phytohemagglutinin and reverse-transcribed. The cDNA coding for the mature interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) protein was amplified using specific primers, cloned into the pGEX-4T2 vector, and expressed in Escherichia coli. Treatment of four fresh bladder transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) biopsies (TCCs 845-1, grade II, Ta; TCC 925-1, grade II, Ta; TCC 919-1, grade III, T1; TCC 950-1, grade III, T1) with the purified recombinant trophoblast IFN-gamma (50 U/mL, 20 h), followed by proteome analysis using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, revealed several major proteins whose level of expression were affected by this cytokine. Of these, five (tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase, the interferon gamma-inducible protein gamma3, mangase superoxide dismutase, and two unknown proteins of apparent molecular masses of 35.8 and 11.2 kDa, respectively) were upregulated in at least 75% of the tumors analyzed while one was downregulated (aldose reductase). Proteins were identified using a combination of techniques that included microsequencing, two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (2-D PAGE) immunoblotting and comparison with the transitional cell carcinoma isoelectric focusing (IEF) database (http://biobase.dk/cgi-bin/celis). Proteome profile analysis of primary cultures from a low-grade lesion (TCC 846-1, Grade II, Ta) labeled in the presence and absence of IFN-gamma showed that all of the proteins disregulated in vivo were also affected in the cultures. The cultured cells, on the other hand, exhibited additional changes that were not detected in vivo and that may reflect adaptation to the culturing conditions. Taken together, the results provide a first glance at the effect of IFN-gamma on the protein expression profiles of TCCs, and in due course may form the basis for more comprehensive studies aimed at evaluating the usefulness of this cytokine in bladder cancer management.