Partial hepatectomy (PH)-induced Kupffer cell (KC) activation results in a rapid release of cytokines inducing the acute-phase response (APR). This study was done to evaluate the role of Kupffer cells (KCs) in the course of the APR following PH and a consecutive endotoxin challenge. KC depletion was performed in rats by i.v. administration of 1 mL liposome-encapsulated dichloromethylene diphosohonate (Cl2MDP). Control rats received 1 mL NaCl 0.9%. Forty-eight hours later, PH was performed. At 24 h after PH, rats were randomized to receive either 1mL NaCl 0.9% (saline) or 50 μg/kg LPS i.v. in 1 mL. Animals were sacrificed at 4 h after LPS or saline infusion. The APR was determined by measuring hepatic gene expression of α2-macroglobulin, α1-acid glycoprotein, and IL-6 and expression of hepatic albumin. The APR was significantly depressed in KC-depleted rats. Despite increased IL-6 mRNA synthesis in response to low-dose LPS, no enhancement of acute-phase protein synthesis (APP) was found in KC-depleted rats. Hepatic failure was most profound in KC-depleted rats, as indicated by elevated plasma levels of liver transaminases and ammonia. We conclude that after PH, KC function in the remnant liver is important for the acute-phase reaction and reduces endotoxin-induced hepatocyte damage.