Mouse allograft inflammatory factor-1 (AIF-1) cDNA was cloned and the AIF-1-specific monoclonal antibodies were established to examine its tissue distribution. The mouse AIF-1 was highly conserved among all reported AIF-1 from a variety of species, from invertebrates to mammals, and the cloned cDNA was in good accordance with putative expressed regions of genomic sequences in the mouse major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class III region. The messages of mouse AIF-1 were abundantly expressed in the testis, moderately in the spleen and lymph nodes and slightly in the liver and thymus of normal BALB/c mice. Immunohistological examination revealed that differentiating germ cells in the testis and presumably macrophages in the red pulp of the spleen were positive for AIF-1. To analyse the function of the AIF-1, a macrophage cell line, RAW 264.7, was transfected with mouse AIF-1 cDNA. Upon stimulation with bacterial lipopolysaccharide, the transfectants that overexpressed AIF-1 showed marked morphological changes and produced significantly large amounts of interleukin (IL)-6, IL-10 and IL-12p40 but not IL-12p70 compared with control cells. No difference was noted in production of tumour necrosis factor-alpha, transforming growth factor-beta1 and IL-1alpha. These results suggest that AIF-1 plays an important role in cells of a monocyte/macrophage lineage upon stimulation with inflammatory stimuli by augmenting particular cytokine production.