Amyloid A (AA) protein is derived from serum amyloid A (SAA) and deposited as beta-pleated sheet fibrils in reactive amyloidosis, a disease that occurs spontaneously in golden Syrian hamsters. The precursor SAA is an acute-phase reactant in many species including hamsters, and in this report we have defined the in vivo kinetic and dosage responses for SAA mRNA accumulation in hamsters following administration of various cytokines. Elevations in levels of hepatic SAA mRNA were documented when the doses of interleukin-1, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor were increased. The increase in dosages applied ranged from 2 1/2-fold for interleukin-6 to 10-fold for interleukin-1. SAA transcipt levels were highest 8 h following administration of interleukin-6 or tumor necrosis factor, whereas maximal amounts of SAA-specific mRNA were found 24 h after administration of interleukin-1.