To study interleukin (IL)-1 beta gene expression, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction was used on 25-microL whole blood samples from 11 healthy subjects. Coagulated and unclotted whole blood was compared. There was no evidence of IL-1 beta gene expression in any time zero samples (i.e., whole blood from which mRNA was immediately extracted) from 11 subjects, whereas a 388-bp band representing IL-1 beta mRNA was detected in all coagulated samples. No mRNA for IL-1 beta was detected in EDTA-anticoagulated whole blood, although in these samples the addition of lipopolysaccharide as a positive control induced the expression of IL-1 beta. In time course studies on samples allowed to clot, mRNA for IL-1 beta was detectable after 30 min. These findings demonstrate that IL-1 beta gene expression is not present in circulating cells of healthy subjects and that coagulation is a stimulus for IL-1 beta gene expression. This may be a mechanism by which thrombosis produces inflammation and fever.