We studied the production of interleukin (IL)-11 and IL-8, two cytokines known to affect erythropoiesis, in polycythemia vera (PV). In vivo, IL-11 was detected more frequently in serum and bone marrow (BM) plasma of PV patients than in controls (healthy donors and patients with idiopathic erythrocytosis (IE)). In addition, serum IL-11 levels of PV patients were higher than those of controls. IL-8 was elevated in serum of both PV and IE patients (respective median levels: 38.6 and 242pg/ml, vs 4.4pg/ml for healthy donors). BM plasma IL-8 levels of PV patients (508pg/ml) were significantly higher than those of IE patients (120pg/ml). In vitro, bone marrow (BM) stromal cells (BMSC) of PV patients produced significantly more IL-11 (x6.4) and IL-8 (x8.3) than BMSC of healthy donors or IE patients. In conclusion, both IL-11 and IL-8 are overproduced in PV, apparently by BMSC; IL-8 is also overproduced in IE, by cells other than BMSC.