The cytokine interleukin-11 (IL-11) promotes normal human megakaryocytopoiesis in vitro. However, its role in abnormal megakaryocytopoiesis is not well known. Accordingly, we studied its effects on human megakaryoblastic cell lines CMK and Meg-J. IL-11 stimulated the proliferation of CMK and Meg-J in a dose-dependent manner with maximal growth being achieved at the concentration of 50 and 500 ng/mL, respectively. The growth of the cells was inhibited by anti-IL-11 antibody and IL-11 antisense oligonucleotides. IL-11 transcripts were detected in these two cell lines using a reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction assay. These findings indicate that IL-11 might be an autocrine growth factor for megakaryoblastic cells. IL-11 transcripts also existed in other leukemia cell lines: HL- 60, U937, and K562. However, the growth of these cells was not stimulated by IL-11, and was not inhibited by IL-11 antisense oligonucleotides. These results suggested that IL-11 might regulate malignant cells of the megakaryocytic lineage, in part by an autocrine loop.