It has recently been indicated that tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) production is increased under chronic hyperglycemia and TNF-alpha has harmful effects on insulin sensitivity and possibly on chronic diabetic complications. Therefore it will be favorable for diabetes treatment if anti-diabetic agents also have anti-TNF-alpha activities. In this study, we have investigated effects of hypoglycemic sulfonylureas (gliclazide and glibenclamide) and a thiazolidinedione (troglitazone) on lipopolysaccharide-induced TNF-alpha production, which was evaluated by immunoassay and bioassay, in vivo using mice and partly in vitro using human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Gliclazide significantly inhibited TNF-alpha production in vivo and also in vitro at a concentration of 10(-3) mol/l. However, glibenclamide had neither effect on TNF-alpha production nor action. On the other hand, troglitazone inhibited action rather than production of TNF-alpha in vivo. In vitro troglitazone (10(-4) mol/l) significantly reduced cytolytic activity of TNF-alpha against LM cells. These results indicate that gliclazide and troglitazone have inhibitory effect on TNF-alpha.