Background/Aims: Previous reports have shown the presence of streptococcal erythrogenic toxin type B (ETB), IL-8, transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) and glomerular proliferation in renal biopsies from patients with acute poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis (APSGN). In addition, increased levels of plasma IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) and urinary IL-6 have also been reported in this disease. To determine the effect of ETB in mesangial cell cytokine production and proliferation, the concentration of several cytokines (IL-6, IL-1β, TNFα, IL-10, IL-4, RANTES), soluble TNF receptor I (STNFR-I), soluble TNF receptor II (STNFR-II) and proliferation were measured in rat mesangial cells cultures after treatment with ETB or its precursor (ETBP). Methods: To analyze the levels of cytokines and production of soluble receptors as well as proliferation, rat mesangial cells were cultured with ETB or ETBP (50 µg/ml). After 24, 48 and 96 h of incubation, culture supernatants were assessed for cytokines and receptors by ELISA and for proliferation by incorporation of radioactive thymidine. Results: A significant increase in IL-6 levels was found in mesangial cell cultures treated with either ETBP or ETB when compared with controls. Streptococcal proteins treated mesangial cells also showed elevated levels of proliferation at 96 h. Increased production of IL-6 was not correlated with proliferation. A polyclonal anti-ETB antibody abolished the IL-6 stimulatory effect of ETB on mesangial cells. ETB/ETBP failed to increase the levels of other cytokines and cytokine soluble receptors. Conclusion: Streptococcal ETB/ETBP is capable of inducing increased production of IL-6 and proliferation on mesangial cells. These findings could be relevant in a possible early interaction of streptococcal proteins with mesangial cells and during the course of APSGN.