The interleukin-6 cytokine family plays roles in a wide variety of tissues and organs, including the immune hematopoietic and nervous systems. Gp130 is a signal-transducing subunit shared by the receptors for the IL-6 family of cytokines. The binding of a ligand to its receptor induces the dimerization of gp130, leading to the activation of JAK tyrosine kinase and tyrosine phosphorylation of gp130. These events lead to the activation of multiple signal-transduction pathways, such as the STAT, Ras-MAPK and PI-3 kinase pathways whose activation is controlled by distinct regions of gp130. We propose a model showing that the outcome of the signal transduction depends on the balance or interplay among the contradictory signal transduction pathways that are simultaneously generated through a cytokine receptor in a given target cell.