The process of cardiac hypertrophy is considered to involve two components: that of cardiac myocyte (CM) enlargement and cardiac fibroblast (CF) proliferation. The interleukin-6 (IL-6) family cytokines have been implicated in a variety of cellular and molecular interactions between myocytes and non-myocytes (NCMs), which in turn have important roles in the development of cardiac hypertrophy. In the study of these interactions, we previously detected very high levels of IL-6 in supernatants of a “dedifferentiated model” of adult ventricular CMs cultured with CFs. In the present study, we have used this in vitro coculture system to examine how IL-6 is involved in the interactions between CMs and CFs during CM hypertrophy and CF proliferation. IL-6 and its signal transducer, 130-kDa glycoprotein (gp130), were detected by immunostaining cultured CMs and CFs with anti-IL-6 or anti-gp130 antibodies. Addition of anti-IL-6 or anti-gp130 antagonist antibodies into CM/CF cocultures induced a significant decrease in expression of atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) and β-myosin heavy chain (β-MHC) in CMs. The presence of IL-6 antagonist also resulted in a decrease in the surface area of 12-day-old CMs cultured with CFs or in the presence of fibroblast conditioned medium (FCM), and decreased fibroblast proliferation in CM/CF cocultures, particularly in the presence of a gp130 antagonist. The results also show that angiotensin II (AngII) is mainly secreted by CFs and induces IL-6 secretion in CMs cultured with CFs or with FCM. In addition, the effects of IL-6 on cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and fibroblast proliferation were inhibited by addition of the AT-1 receptor antagonist, losartan. These results suggest that IL-6 contributes significantly to CM hypertrophy by an autocrine pathway and to fibroblast proliferation by a paracrine pathway and that these effects could be mediated by AngII. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.