Hepatocyte-stimulating factor and interleukin-1 are proteins produced by monocytes in response to inflammatory challenge. Neither of these monokines had direct effects on steroid production by cultured adrenocortical cells. Both monokines stimulated pituitary cells (AtT-20) to release adrenocorticotropic hormone; interleukin-1 was equipotent with a combination of corticotropin-releasing factor and arginine vasopressin, and hepatocyte-stimulating factor was at least three times as effective. The synthetic glucocorticoid, dexamethasone, inhibited production of hepatocyte-stimulating factor by cultured monocytes. These results indicate an axis between monocytes and pituitary and adrenocortical cells which may play a role in regulating host defense.