Protein metabolism contributes in the regulation of gut barrier function, which may be altered during inflammatory states. There are three major proteolytic pathways in mammalian cells: lysosomal, Ca(2+)-activated and ubiquitin-proteasome. The regulation of proteolytic activities during inflammation remains unknown in intestine. Intestinal epithelial cells, HCT-8, were stimulated by IL-1beta, IFNgamma and TNFalpha each alone or in combination (Cytomix). Proteolytic activities were assessed using fluorogenic substrates and specific inhibitors, protein expressions by Western blot. Lysosomal and Ca(2+)-activated pathways were not significantly altered by any treatment. In contrast, the activity of ubiquitin-proteasome system was stimulated by IFNgamma and Cytomix (155, 160 versus 100, P<0.05, respectively) but remained unaffected by IL-1beta and TNFalpha. Free ubiquitin expression, but not ubiquitinated proteins, was enhanced by IFNgamma and Cytomix. The expression of proteasome 20S alpha1 subunit, a constitutive proteasome 20S subunit, was not altered, beta5 subunit expression was weakly decreased by Cytomix and inducible beta5i subunit expression was markedly increased in response to IFNgamma and to Cytomix (202, 206 versus 100, P<0.05, respectively). In conclusion, lysosomal, Ca(2+)-activated and constitutive proteasome activities were not affected by IL-1beta, IFNgamma and TNFalpha alone or in combination, in HCT-8 cells. These results suggest that IFNgamma, but not IL-1beta and TNFalpha, increases immunoproteasome, which might contribute to enhanced antigen presentation during inflammatory bowel diseases.