To clarify the involvement of TNF alpha and IL-1 beta in the initiation of fibrotic lung diseases, their localization was examined by immunohistochemistry. Fibrotic lung diseases observed were classified into acute and old pulmonary fibrotic changes. The acute fibrotic changes included adult respiratory distress syndrome, acute interstitial pneumonia and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis with acute exacerbation. Acute pulmonary fibrotic changes histopathologically corresponded to a mixture of the exudative and proliferative phases of diffuse alveolar damage. Both TNF alpha and IL-1 beta were positive in the alveolar macrophages and proliferating type II pneumocytes in acute fibrotic changes. In contrast, positive cells for TNF alpha and IL-1 beta were sparse in the areas of old fibrotic change and in the normal tissue. These findings suggest that TNF alpha and IL-1 beta play an important role in the initiation of pulmonary fibrotic responses and in the architectural remodeling, irrespective of the etiology of fibrotic lung diseases.