We tested the hypothesis that phosphatidylcholine (PC) molecules present in the dialysis solution may interact with the mesothelial cell membrane and modify its function. In vitro experiments were performed on human mesothelial cells (HMC) in culture. PC decreased proliferation of HMC when used at concentrations of 200 mg/l and higher. PC was also cytotoxic to HMC as measured by the release of lactate dehydrogenase from their cytosol. Cells exposed to PC had a diminished capacity for taking up 86Rb from medium. PC decreased the fibrinolytic properties of HMC and increased their procoagulant activity. Our results suggest that the positive short-term effect of the addition of PC to the dialysis solution (i.e., an increase in ultrafiltration) may be over-shadowed by its deleterious action on HMC membrane.