The systemic production of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α was evaluated in uremic patients before and after hemodiafiltration (HDF) and paired filtration dialysis (PFD) and in the interdialytic period. Both HDF and PFD were performed using polysulfone dialyzers with either standard or ultrapure dialysis fluid. TNF-α was quantitated by using a specific biological assay based on its cytotoxic effect on a TNF-sensitive human melanoma cell line SK-MEL-109. Postdialytic mean plasma TNF-α levels decreased, albeit not significantly, in regard to predialytic values. These results differ from those obtained in patients on HDF using other high-permeability membranes such as polymethylmethacrylate and polyacrylonitrile (AN 69) as recently described by us. Of interest, the adoption of ultrapure dialysis fluid resulted in a marked reduction in the interdialytic production of TNF-α. These results suggest that the enhanced production of TNF-α in patients dialyzed with high-permeability membranes is mainly dependent upon the bacteriological purity of dialysis fluid.