NIH 3T3 cells express the alpha, delta, epsilon and zeta isoenzymes of protein kinase C(PKC). Following stimulation of cells (24 h) with the pro-inflammatory cytokine, interleukin 1beta (IL-1beta), we observed, by Western blotting, a dose-dependent effect on the levels of PKC-epsilon and delta, but not on alpha or zeta. Moreover, time course analysis revealed that the isoenzymes, PKC-delta and epsilon were induced by IL-1beta after 7 h. Again, no change in PKC-alpha or zeta levels after IL-1beta treatment were detected. Incubation with selective PKC inhibitor peptides blocked the PKC-alpha, delta, epsilon and zeta antibodies binding to their respective isoenzyme bands. We also observed that the addition of the tumour-promoting phorbol ester, Phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA), downregulated PKC-alpha, delta and epsilon by 7 h in NIH 3T3 cells. PMA did not affect constitutively produced PKC-zeta protein levels even after 24-h treatment. In summary, these results demonstrate that IL-1beta induces protein synthesis of the Ca2+-independent PKC-delta and epsilon isoforms in NIH 3T3 cells. The differences observed here between PKC isoenzymes in response to IL-1beta suggest that each isoenzyme may have a unique role in the signal transduction pathways of IL-1beta and that such isoenzyme may have a unique role in the signal transduction pathways of IL-1beta and that such selective expression may influence the action of agents which require PKC for signal transduction acting in concert with IL-1.