The coordinate increase in the hepatic production of the acute phase plasma proteins appears to be mediated by several cytokines produced by different cell types. One factor, hepatocyte-stimulating factor III (HSF-III), constitutively produced by human squamous carcinoma (COLO-16) cells, stimulates the synthesis of the same set of acute phase plasma proteins as the structurally distinct IL-6. The physicochemical properties of HSF-III coincide with those of the T cell-derived leukemia-inhibitory factor (LIF). Human rLIF, tested on hepatoma cells, indicated a liver-regulating activity identical to HSF-III. The LIF activity is specifically neutralized by HSF-III antibodies. COLO-16 cells contain an LIF mRNA which is characteristic for lectin-stimulated T cells, suggesting that HSF-III is an epidermal cell-derived form of LIF. This result provides additional evidence for the close relationship between acute phase regulation of the liver and control of proliferation and differentiation of hemopoietic cells by identical cytokines.