A deregulated expression and/or release of large amounts of inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1 and TNF-alpha accounts for most pathophysiological events in a variety of systemic inflammatory diseases, the effect being mediated by the interaction of these cytokines with their respective receptors. IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra), mainly produced by monocytes/macrophages, is an inhibitor of IL-1 activity. The present study shows that human serum IgA induces significant IL-1Ra release in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells and adherent monocytes. IgA induced higher levels of IL-1Ra than Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) expressing lipopolysaccharide (LPS), purified LPS or phorbol myristate acetate (PMA), without induction of IL-1 beta release, and even inhibited LPS-induced IL-1 beta release. Induction of IL-1Ra by IgA could be detected both at the mRNA and protein levels in resting and activated monocytes. Ligation of Fc alpha R with MoAb My-43 or treatment with human serum IgA induced protein tyrosine phosphorylation in human monocytes, and herbimycin A, a specific inhibitor of protein tyrosine kinase activity, inhibited IgA-induced IL-1Ra production, suggesting that Fc alpha R-mediated induction of tyrosine phosphorylation is required for the IgA-induced stimulation of IL-1Ra release. In addition, triggering of Fc alpha R with MoAb specifically down-regulated TNF-alpha and IL-6 release in human monocytes activated with Hib. By the induction of IL-1Ra and down-regulation of the release of inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1 beta, TNF-alpha and IL-6, interaction of IgA with human monocytes may actively contribute to the regulation of the inflammatory response.