Interleukin 6 (IL-6), which was originally identified as a B-cell differentiation factor, is now known to be a multifunctional cytokine that regulates the immune response, hematopoiesis, the acute phase response, and inflammation. Deregulation of IL-6 production is implicated in the pathology of several disease processes. The expression of constitutively high levels of IL-6 in transgenic mice results in fatal plasmacytosis, which has been implicated in human multiple myeloma. Increased IL-6 levels are also observed in several diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic-onset juvenile chronic arthritis (JCA), osteoporosis, and psoriasis. IL-6 is critically involved in experimentally induced autoimmune disease, such as antigen-induced arthritis (AIA), and experimental allergic encephalomyelitis. All these clinical data and animal models suggest that IL-6 plays critical roles in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases. Here we review the evidence for the involvement of IL-6 in the pathophysiology of autoimmune diseases and chronic inflammatory proliferative diseases (CIPD) and discuss the possible molecular mechanisms of its involvement.