Plasma levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha) were assessed in 17 chronic schizophrenic patients who had been drug-free for 3 weeks and in 17 age- and sex-matched healthy subjects. Plasma concentrations of both cytokines were measured again in 12 patients after a 10-week treatment with clozapine. Compared with healthy controls, drug-free schizophrenic patients exhibited similar plasma IL-6 concentrations, but significantly higher levels of TNF alpha. After clozapine treatment, blood concentrations of TNF alpha fell to normal levels. These preliminary data support an immune activation in drug-free schizophrenic patients and an effect of clozapine on immune parameters.