We previously reported that thrombin stimulates Ca2+ influx and activates phosphatidylcholine-hydrolyzing phospholipase D in osteoblast-like MC3T3-E1 cells. In this study, we investigated the effect of thrombin on interleukin-6 (IL-6) synthesis in these cells. Thrombin stimulated IL-6 synthesis dose-dependently in the range between 0.01 and 1 U/ml. The depletion of extracellular Ca2+ by EGTA suppressed the thrombin-induced IL-6 synthesis. TMB-8, an inhibitor of intracellular Ca2+ mobilization, also inhibited the IL-6 synthesis by thrombin. Propranolol, a phosphatidic acid phosphohydrolase inhibitor, enhanced the IL-6 synthesis by thrombin. Calphostin C, a highly potent and specific inhibitor for protein kinase C, significantly amplified the IL-6 synthesis by thrombin. The thrombin-induced IL-6 synthesis was enhanced in PKC down-regulated MC3T3-E1 cells. These results strongly suggest that thrombin stimulates IL-6 synthesis, which depends on intracellular Ca2+ mobilization mainly from extracellular space in osteoblasts, and that the IL-6 synthesis by thrombin is regulated due to thrombin-activated protein kinase C through phosphatidylcholine-hydrolyzing phospholipase D.