Cytokine regulation of synovial cell function has been considered to be involved in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis. Synoviocyte urokinase-type plasminogen activator (u-PA) expression may be relevant to the tissue remodelling, as well as to the cell migration and transformation occurring in rheumatoid joints. We report here that purified recombinant human oncostatin M (greater than or equal to approximately 0.2 U/ml = 1 pM) stimulated within six hr the u-PA activity of non-rheumatoid synovial fibroblast-like cells and raised their u-PA mRNA levels. Oncostatin M could augment PGE2 production and DNA synthesis in these cells; however, the increase in PGE2 was small compared with that caused by IL-1. Since oncostatin M is produced by immune cells, it may have a role in immune and inflammatory reactions by interacting with fibroblast populations, such as synoviocytes, in the manner described.