OBJECTIVE: Extensive peridural fibrosis after spinal surgery may be the underlying cause of failed-back syndrome in some cases. There is increasing evidence that generation of specific cytokine patterns by immune and structural cells and interactions among these cells mediate many of the key events involved in fibrogenesis. Interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) has several potential antifibrotic actions, including inhibition of fibroblast proliferation and collagen deposition, promotion of fibroblast apoptosis, and inhibition of production and action of the fibrogenic cytokine, transforming growth factor-beta. We conducted a study to determine the effectiveness of IFN-gamma in preventing postlaminectomy peridural fibrosis in rats. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study testing immunotherapy in peridural fibrosis. Type 2 cytokine hypothesis of fibrogenesis is emphasized.