Autocrine and paracrine factors are produced by balding dermal papilla (DP) cells following dihydrotestosterone (DHT)-driven alterations and are believed to be key factors involved in male pattern baldness. Herein we report that the IL-6 is upregulated in balding DP cells compared with non-balding DP cells. IL-6 was upregulated 3 hours after 10-100 nM DHT treatment, and ELISA showed that IL-6 was secreted from balding DP cells in response to DHT. IL-6 receptor (IL-6R) and glycoprotein 130 (gp130) were expressed in follicular keratinocytes, including matrix cells. Recombinant human IL-6 (rhIL-6) inhibited hair shaft elongation and suppressed proliferation of matrix cells in cultured human hair follicles. Moreover, rhIL-6 injection into the hypodermis of mice during anagen caused premature onset of catagen. Taken together, our data strongly suggest that DHT-inducible IL-6 inhibits hair growth as a paracrine mediator from the DP.