Muscle is an attractive target for gene therapy and for immunization with DNA vaccines and is also the target of immunological injury in myositis. It is important therefore to understand the immunologic capabilities of muscle cells themselves. In this study, we show that proinflammatory stimuli induce the expression of other cytokines such as IL-6, transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta), and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) by muscle cells themselves, as well as the up-regulation of human leucocyte antigen (HLA) class I, class II and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1). Thus, muscle cells have an inherent ability to express and respond to a variety of cytokines and chemokines. The levels of HLA class I, class II and ICAM-1 in inflamed muscle may be affected by the secreted products of the stimulation.