To examine if uremia influences muscle interleukin-6 (IL-6) metabolism we studied the exchange of IL-6 across the forearm in 16 patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) (stages 3 and 4), in 15 hemodialysis (HD)-treated end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients (n=15), and in six healthy controls. In addition, we performed an analysis of both IL-6 protein and IL-6 mRNA expression in muscle of CKD (stage 4) patients showing evidence of inflammation and in controls. A release of IL-6 from the forearm was observed in patients with elevated IL-6 plasma levels. Arterial IL-6 was directly related to released IL-6 (r=0.69; P<0.004) in HD patients. Both IL-6 protein and IL-6 mRNA expression were increased in muscle of inflamed CKD patients vs controls (P<0.05). Although muscle net protein balance was similar in all patients, it was significantly more negative in HD patients with high than in those with low IL-6 plasma levels (P<0.05). In addition, net protein balance was related to the forearm release of IL-6 in HD patients only (r=0.47; P<0.038). These data demonstrate that IL-6 expression is upregulated in muscle, and that muscle tissue, by releasing this cytokine, may contribute to the inflammatory response in HD patients. The release of IL-6 from peripheral tissues is associated with an increase in muscle protein loss in HD patients, suggesting that muscle release of IL-6 is linked to protein catabolism in these patients. The release of IL-6 from peripheral tissues may act as a signal for the inflammatory response and contribute to functional dysregulation in uremia.