Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by chronic inflammation of the synovial tissue. We examined the effect of interleukin (IL)-6 neutralization on the expression of cytochrome P450 or metallothionein-1/2 (metallothionein) during chronic phase inflammatory disease using rheumatoid arthritis model mice, human T-cell leukemia virus type I (HTLV-I) transgenic mice. Serum IL-6 concentrations of arthritis-developed HTLV-I transgenic mice were 129.9+/-26.1 pg/ml. Moreover, signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) 1/3 phosphorylations was observed in arthritic HTLV-I transgenic mouse livers. CYP3A11 mRNA was more strongly reduced by the development of arthritis in HTLV-I transgenic mouse livers as compared with CYP2C29 or CYP2E1 mRNAs. CYP3A protein and testosterone 6beta-hydroxylation activity also changed in a similar manner to the corresponding CYP3A11 mRNA level. On the other hand, metallothionein mRNA was significantly induced as compared with that of wild-type or non-arthritic mice. CYP3A suppression and metallothionein mRNA overexpression activity seen in the developed arthritic mice returned to the gene conditions of the non-arthritic HTLV-I transgenic mice by IL-6 antibody at 48 h after treatment. The present study has revealed that CYP3A11 and metallothionein expressions are affected by the release of IL-6 by arthritis and its systemic circulation, and neutralization of IL-6 recovered from the down-regulation of CYP3A11 mRNA and the induction of metallothionein mRNA in arthritic HTLV-I transgenic mice.