In human kidneys, the mechanisms underlying angiotensinogen (AGT) augmentation by interleukin 6 (IL-6) are poorly understood and the only information available is in HK-2, immortalized human renal proximal tubular epithelial cells. Therefore, the present study was performed to elucidate the effects of IL-6 on AGT expression in primary cultured human renal proximal tubular epithelial cells (RPTEC) after characterization of HK-2 and RPTEC. RPTEC showed low basal AGT mRNA (11+/-1%) and protein (7.0+/-0.9%) expression, high IL-6 receptor (IL-6R) expression (282+/-17%), and low basal NF-kappaB (43+/-7%) and STAT3 (43+/-7%) activities compared to those in HK-2. In RPTEC, AGT mRNA and protein expressions were enhanced by IL-6 (172+/-31% and 378+/-39%, respectively). This AGT augmentation was attenuated by an IL-6R antibody. STAT3 phosphorylation (366+/-55% at 30min) and translocation were enhanced by IL-6. The AGT augmentation was attenuated by a STAT3 inhibitor. These data indicate that IL-6 increases AGT expression via STAT3 pathway in RPTEC.