IL-6 is known to be an important pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine, which is up-regulated during sepsis. Our previous work has suggested a role for IL-6 in the up-regulation of C5aR in sepsis. We reported earlier that interception of C5a or C5aR results in improved outcomes in experimental sepsis. Using the cecal ligation/puncture (CLP) model in mice, we now demonstrate that treatment with anti-IL-6 Ab (anti-IL-6) results in significantly improved survival, dependent on the amount of Ab infused. CLP animals showed significantly increased binding of 125I-labeled anti-C5aR to organs when compared to either control mice at 0 h or CLP animals infused with normal rabbit 125I-labeled IgG. Binding of 125I-labeled anti-C5aR to lung, liver, kidney, and heart was significantly decreased in anti-IL-6-treated animals 6 h after CLP. RT-PCR experiments with mRNA isolated from various organs obtained 3, 6, and 12 h after CLP demonstrated increased C5aR mRNA expression during the onset of sepsis, which was greatly suppressed in CLP mice treated with anti-IL-6. These data suggest that IL-6 plays an important role in the increased expression of C5aR in lung, liver, kidney, and heart during the development of sepsis in mice and that interception of IL-6 leads to reduced expression of C5aR and improved survival.