To investigate the role of peritoneal mesothelial cells in regulating hematopoiesis, as well as inflammation, healing, and tissue regeneration processes, long-term cultures of peritoneal mesothelial cells from human endocavitarian fluids were established. The purity of the cell population was assessed by morphologic and immunocytochemical criteria. Five peritoneal mesothelial cell cultures were analyzed for cytokine expression. Macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF), granulocyte-CSF (G-CSF), interleukin-1 alpha (IL-1 alpha), IL-1 beta, and IL-6 transcripts were constantly but variably detected throughout the culture period, while granulocyte-monocyte-CSF (GM-CSF) expression started as the cell culture aged. No IL-2, IL-3, IL-4, IL-5, or IL-7 transcripts were detected in the same samples. Corresponding cytokine activities were detected in the supernatants of the cultures. Peritoneal mesothelial cells proliferated after the addition of exogenous IL-1 beta or IL-1 alpha, whereas the addition of recombinant GM-CSF, G-CSF, M-CSF, or IL-6 failed to trigger proliferation. IL-1 receptor type I transcripts were detected in peritoneal mesothelial cells. Moreover, IL-1 was able to upregulate the expression of the genes that code for G-CSF, GM-CSF, IL-1 alpha, and IL-1 beta in these cells. These data indicate that peritoneal mesothelial cells produce many cytokines and suggest that IL-1 is a regulatory molecule for peritoneal mesothelial cells.