Airway epithelial cells are critically dependent on an intact cytoskeleton for innate defense functions. There are various pathophysiological conditions that affect the cytoskeletal architecture. We studied the effect of cytoskeletal distortion in polarized airway epithelial-like NCI-H292 cells on inflammatory gene expression, exemplified by interleukin(IL)-6 and IL-8. Disruption of microtubule structure with vinblastin and of actin with cytochalasin D did not affect TNF-α-induced IL-6 and IL-8 gene transcription but stabilized IL-8 and IL-6 mRNA. In line with previous studies, IL-8 mRNA stabilization was paralleled by hyperresponsive IL-8 production, but surprisingly, IL-6 production was reduced despite IL-6 mRNA stabilization. Polysome profiling revealed that, in cells with a disrupted cytoskeleton, translational efficiency of IL-6 mRNA was reduced, whereas that of IL-8 mRNA remained unaffected. Our findings indicate that distortion of the cytoskeleton in airway epithelial cells differentially affects both degradation and translation of IL-6 and IL-8 mRNA, modifying inflammatory gene expression and thus their innate defense function.