We evaluated the effect of the various osmotic solutes on the growth rate of human mesothelial cells (HMC) in an in vitro culture. Glucose inhibited proliferation of HMC in a dose dependent way. At high glucose concentrations (60 mM, 90 mM) the effect was instant but at lower concentration (30 mM) decrease in the mesothelial cell proliferation was significant only after five days of incubation. Reversibility of the glucose effect was inversely proportional to exposure time to this solute. Mannitol and glycerol studied in similar concentrations as glucose decreased proliferation of the mesothelial cells less than glucose, whereas amino acid glycine had a similar effect to glucose. However, all osmotic solutes caused similar injury to mesothelial cells membrane as measured by release of LDH. These results suggest that the toxic effect of the osmotic solutes on proliferation of the mesothelial cells depends not only on the hyperosmolality but also on some metabolic effect(s). In an in vitro culture, HMC may provide a suitable model for the study of the toxic effect of dialysis fluid on peritoneal mesothelium.