In order to clarify the role played by interleukin-2 (IL-2) in the regulation of fibroblast function, we investigated the effect of rat IL-2 and human recombinant IL-2 on 3T3 fibroblast proliferation and collagen synthesis. Fibroblasts were incubated with various concentrations IL-2 for different periods of time. IL-2 was found to decrease in time- and dose-dependent manner the proliferation of 3T3 fibroblasts. This effect correlated with ability of IL-2 to enhance PGE2 production by 3T3 fibroblasts. When 3T3 fibroblasts were cocultured with rat peritoneal mast cells (MC), the growth-inhibiting effect of IL-2 was significantly less pronounced. Treatment of the cultures with IL-2 had no effect on collagen production by both 3T3 fibroblasts and fibroblasts cocultured with MC. In conclusion, in this study we provide evidence that IL-2, the key cytokine in T-cell growth and differentiation, can affect fibroblast functions.