Plasma cytokine levels were examined in 13 patients with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP). Auto-antibodies, platelet-associated immunoglobulin G, and platelet aggregating factor were detected in many of these patients and high-molecular-weight bands of von Willebrand factor multimers were reduced in 9 of 10 patients examined. Complete remission (CR) was attained in 7 of the 13 patients, but 6 died. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF), Interleukin (IL)-1 beta, IL-6, and soluble IL-2 receptor showed marked increases at onset and decreased at CR. The prognosis tended to be poor in patients with increased IL-6 and soluble IL-2 receptor levels. These findings suggest that immunological mechanisms, such as the activation of macrophage, are involved in the pathogenesis of TTP and are reflected in the plasma cytokine levels.