Hepatic synthesis of complement component C3 is regulated in part by inflammatory cytokines. Rat models are frequently employed to investigate pathogenic roles of complement and cytokines. However, cytokines obtained from species other than the rat were used in previous studies of cytokine regulation of C3 synthesis in rat hepatocytes or hepatoma cells. It is not known whether these prior reports predict hepatocellular responses evoked by rat cytokines. Therefore, H-35 rat hepatoma cells were employed to measure the effect of recombinant rat IL-1beta, IL-6, IFN-gamma, and TNF-alpha on C3 protein secretion and C3 mRNA levels quantified by ELISA and quantitative RT-PCR. Compared to untreated control cells, H-35 cells treated with IL-1beta, IL-6, and IFN-gamma increased C3 secretion approximately 10-, 4-, and 2-fold, respectively. TNF-alpha was toxic, precluding further analysis. IL-1beta and IL-6 demonstrated synergy with respect to the quantity and rate of increase of C3 mRNA measured and the magnitude of C3 protein secretion. Previous reports using non-rat cytokines did not consistently predict H-35 responses to rat cytokines. Consequently, we recommend the use of rat cytokines in rat models that include analysis of cytokine-mediated events.