Interleukin-6 null (IL-6-/-) mice have impaired liver regeneration and increased liver necrosis following partial hepatectomy that is corrected with IL-6 treatment. Following acute carbon tetrachloride (CCl(4)) treatment, we found that IL-6-/- mice developed increased hepatocellular injury and defective regeneration with significant blunting of signal transducer-and-activator of transcription protein 3 (STAT3) and nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) activation and reduced hepatocyte DNA synthetic and mitotic responses. After CCl(4) treatment, unlike partial hepatectomy, increased hepatocyte apoptosis was noted in IL-6-/- livers. Pretreatment with IL-6 before CCl(4) reduced acute CCl(4) injury and apoptosis and accelerated regeneration in both IL-6+/+ and -/- livers. Repetitive doses of CCl(4) in the presence or absence of phenobarbital resulted in increased injury and fibrosis in IL-6 -/- compared with +/+ livers. After acute and chronic injury, IL-6-/- livers showed the protracted presence of alpha-smooth muscle actin associated with activated stellate cells, indicating a disturbed response in wound healing that progressed to fibrosis. These data provide evidence for an important role for IL-6 in reducing CCl(4)-induced acute and chronic liver injury and fibrosis.