Serum concentrations of soluble interleukin 2 receptor (IL-2R) were measured in 65 hemodialysis patients and compared with serum levels of beta 2-microglobulin and tissue polypeptide antigen (TPA). Elevated IL-2R levels, found in 85% of examined patients, correlated with elevated TPA serum concentrations (p less than 0.05). Patients with high IL-2R levels were significantly younger (p less than 0.05) than patients with low levels. Primary renal disease and residual renal function had no significant influence on TPA or IL-2R serum concentrations. In 16 patients with carpal tunnel syndrome, increased serum concentrations of IL-2R (p less than 0.005) and TPA (p less than 0.001) were found. We conclude that a non-specific dialysis-induced activation of epithelial and lymphoid cells rather than a specific immune response could explain the concomitant elevation of IL-2R and TPA serum concentrations in hemodialyzed patients. Patients with pronounced cell turnover, reflected by elevated IL-2R and TPA levels, may show an increased susceptibility to dialysis-associated amyloidosis.