The growth factors present during liver regeneration partially overlap with the regulators of the hepatic acute phase response. We analysed the acute phase reaction and changes in soluble cytokine receptors after partial hepatectomy, when tissue injury inducing acute phase reaction and major reduction of liver mass occur simultaneously. Three acute phase proteins and mRNAs were determined by ELISA and northern blot hybridisation in rats. Serum levels of IL-6 and three soluble cytokine receptors (sTNF-αR I and II, sIL-6R) were detected by ELIBA or dot-blot assay. Time-course profiles of fibrinogen, α2-macroglobulin and haptoglobin proteins and mRNA are presented. Elevation of IL-6, soluble TNF-α receptors and soluble IL-6 receptor levels were also detected. The time-course of changes in haptoglobin concentration and elevation of soluble cytokine receptors is described by this in vivo experimental system. The results show good correlation with (post)transcriptional activation of immediate and delayed early gene products. These data suggest the involvement of both acute phase proteins and soluble cytokine receptors in the regulation of liver regeneration.