All-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA), a vitamin A derivative, was reported to suppress the interleukin-6 (IL-6) production and to downregulate the IL-6 receptor (IL-6R) and/or its signal transducer glycoprotein 130. We investigated the in vivo antinephritic effect of ATRA on IL-6 transgenic mice which had developed mesangial proliferative glomerulonephritis (PGN) as well as its in vitro inhibitory effect on the proliferation of rat mesangial cells. In vivo experiments on IL-6 transgenic mice showed that ATRA administration suppressed proteinuria and hematuria and reduced the IL-6 concentrations; furthermore, histological examination demonstrated that it improved PGN. In vitro experiments using rat mesangial cells demonstrated that ATRA inhibited cell growth in a dose-dependent manner within a range from 10<sup>–4</sup> to 10<sup>–6</sup> M. This inhibition by ATRA was partially counteracted by the addition of IL-6. RT-PCR assay results showed that ATRA also reduced IL-6R, but not the glycoprotein 130 expression in mesangial cells. These findings indicate that, by blocking of the IL-6 function, ATRA may be therapeutically effective in PGN.