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To determine whether the clinical improvement noted in some septic patients undergoing hemofiltration is in part due to the removal of proinflammatory mediators, in vitro hemofiltration of a 1% albumin solution containing recombinant human tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin-1 was performed through a variety of hemofilters. Observed sieving coefficients of these cytokines was much higher (up to 0.35) than expected, considering their molecular weights of 17 kd. In addition, binding of up to 32% of the total mass to selected membranes (polyamide and AN69) was noted. These data are consistent with the concept that either the convective or adsorptive removal of proinflammatory cytokines may play role in the clinical efficacy of hemofiltration in sepsis.