Several transmembrane mucins have demonstrated that they contribute intracellularly to induce fibrotic processes. The extracellular domain of MUC16 is considered as a biomarker for disease progression and death in IPF patients. However, there is no evidence regarding the signalling capabilities of MUC16 that contribute to IPF development. Here, we demonstrate that MUC16 was overexpressed in the lung tissue of IPF patients (n = 20) compared with healthy subjects (n = 17) and localised in fibroblasts and hyperplastic alveolar type II cells. Repression of MUC16 expression by siRNA-MUC16 transfection inhibited the TGF-β1-induced fibrotic processes such as mesenchymal/ myofibroblast transformations of alveolar type II A549 cells and lung fibroblasts, as well as fibroblast proliferation. SiRNA-MUC16 transfection also decreased the TGF-β1-induced SMAD3 phosphorylation, thus inhibiting the Smad Binding Element activation. Immunoprecipitation assays and confocal immunofluorescence showed the formation of a protein complex between MUC16/p-SMAD3 in the cell membrane after TGF-β1 stimulation. This study shows that MUC16 is overexpressed in IPF and collaborates with the TGF-β1 canonical pathway to induce fibrotic processes. Therefore, direct or indirect targeting of MUC16 could be a potential drug target for human IPF.