Hepatic responses to proinflammatory signals are controlled by the activation of several transcription factors, including, nuclear factor-κ B (NF-κB). In this study, hepatocytes prepared from suckling pigs and maintained in serum-free monolayer culture were used to define a novel proinflammatory cytokine-specific NF-κB subunit modification. The immunoreactive p65 protein was detected by Western blot analysis at the appropriate molecular weight in the cytosol of control cultures and those incubated with tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF). However, in nuclei, the p65 antisera cross-reacted with a protein of approximately 38 kDa (termed p38) after TNF addition, which was not observed in the cytosol of control or cytokine-treated cells. Specifically, incubation with TNF also resulted in phosphorylation (P < 0.05) of the inhibitor complex protein (IκB), whereas incubation with other cytokines, IL-6, IL-17a, or oncostatin M was not associated with either phosphorylation of IκB or nuclear translocation of p65. Intracellular endothelial nitric oxide synthase was deceased (P < 0.05) and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 secretion was increased (P < 0.05) after TNF incubation. The TNF-induced p38 protein was purified from hepatocyte nuclei by immunoprecipitation, concentrated by electrophoresis, and subsequently analyzed by mass spectrometry. Ten unique NF-κB p65 peptides were identified after digestion with trypsin and chymotrypsin; however, all were mapped to the N-terminus and within the first 310 amino acid residues of the intact p65 protein. Although low molecular weight immunoreactive p65 molecules were previously observed in various human and rodent systems, this is the first report to positively identify the p38 fragment within hepatocyte nuclei or after specific cytokine (TNF) induction.