In the present study, we compared the potency of interleukin 6 production in peripheral blood mononuclear leukocytes between paired patients with active stage and inactive stage of inflammatory bowel disease. Subjects included nine patients with ulcerative colitis, ten patients with Crohn's disease and sex-matched nine healthy volunteers. Mononuclear leukocytes were stimulated with concanavalin A for 24 h to induce interleukin 6 production. Interleukin 6 content in the culture medium was assayed by using specific ELISA and interleukin 6 dependent cell line MH-60. Interleukin 6 production was found to be significantly increased in mononuclear leukocytes from both active ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease as compared to that from control subjects. There was no significant difference in interleukin 6 production between ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. The potency of interleukin 6 production was returned to the control level when the diseases became inactive. The present results, therefore, may indicate some important role of interleukin 6 in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease and also the potency of interleukin 6 production in mononuclear leukocytes can be an indicator of the activity of inflammatory bowel disease.